Barzan Majeed has long been the subject of a transcontinental pursuit, sought by law enforcement agencies across Europe for his alleged involvement in a people-smuggling operation. BBC journalists, Sue Mitchell and Rob Lawrie, went on a mission to uncover the truth behind the figure’s whereabouts and activities.

People Smuggler Barzan Majeed Found in Iraq

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Since 2018, over 70 migrants have perished in their desperate attempts to cross the English Channel, with an incident last month claiming the lives of five, including a seven-year-old girl.

For Barzan Majeed and his syndicate migrant smuggling proved a lucrative enterprise with profits soaring as high as £6,000 per person for a boat journey.

With nearly 30,000 attempted crossings in 2023 alone the financial incentives behind the trade are evident.

The pursuit of Scorpion began with a chance encounter in a migrant camp near Calais, France, where the near-death experience of a young girl sparked a determination to expose those responsible.

The trail led to a familiar moniker, “Scorpion,” recurrent in confiscated mobile phones of migrants apprehended in the UK.

Barzan Majeed emerged as the linchpin of a sprawling people-smuggling network. His journey from an Iraqi Kurd smuggled into England to the mastermind behind transcontinental trafficking operations epitomized the audacity of criminal enterprise.

A concerted two-year operation by law enforcement across Europe culminated in the conviction of 26 members of Scorpion’s gang. A Belgian court’s verdict in absentia, sentencing Majeed to a decade in prison and a hefty fine.

The BBC’s pursuit of Majeed traversed borders and boundaries. With each lead, a glimpse into the murky world of migrant smuggling emerged.

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Sue Mitchell and Rob Lawrie found themselves face-to-face with Barzan Majeed in an Iraqi shopping mall.

Disguised in the veneer of affluence, Majeed denied culpability casting himself as a “money man” in the smuggling trade.

Mitchell and Lawrie’s investigation led them to Iraq where they found themselves face-to-face with Majeed in a nondescript shopping mall.

Majeed with an air of indifference, confessed to his uncertain tally of migrants transported across the English Channel.

Despite concerted efforts by European law enforcement including a wide-reaching operation resulting in the conviction of dozens of Majeed’s associates, the elusive figure managed to evade capture.

The collaborative efforts of investigative journalists aided by voluntary informants and law enforcement agencies provided critical leads spanning from Turkey to Iraq.

Revelations of Majeed’s alleged involvement in orchestrating sea voyages for migrants, often overcrowded and piloted by inexperienced smugglers, laid bare the callous disregard for human life in pursuit of illicit gains.

Majeed denied culpability, attempting to distance himself from the realities faced by the migrants he professed to ‘assist’.

Majeed’s conviction in absentia by a Belgian court sentencing him to a decade in prison and imposing a fine.

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