Wanted Romanian man arrested over Vietnamese lorry deaths

·2 min read
British Police forensics officers work on lorry, found to be containing 39 dead bodies, at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London - BEN STANSALL /AFP
British Police forensics officers work on lorry, found to be containing 39 dead bodies, at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London - BEN STANSALL /AFP

A Romanian man British police want to speak to in connection with the deaths of 39 people who were discovered in a lorry trailer in Essex, has been arrested.

Marius Mihai Draghici, 48, was detained by police in Bucharest following the execution of a European arrest warrant.

An application is now being made to extradite him to the UK, Essex police said.

The 39 Vietnamese migrants, 10 of them teenagers, were found in the back of a refrigerated trailer in Grays in 2019.

Ten other people have been sentenced for their roles in the case.

Police say Mr Draghici is suspected of being part of the network which co-ordinated journeys to the UK both in connection with the deaths of the migrants and on a number of occasions prior to 23 October 2019.

photo issued by Essex Police of Romanian national Marius Mihai Draghici - Essex police/Essex police
photo issued by Essex Police of Romanian national Marius Mihai Draghici - Essex police/Essex police

Speaking last month, Detective Chief Inspector Louise Metcalfe, who is leading the investigation, said: "The investigation into the tragic deaths of the 39 Vietnamese nationals is the most complex ever undertaken by Essex Police.

"So far, we have brought 10 people to justice and achieved prison sentences of almost 100 years in total. But we made a promise to the families of those who lost their lives in Essex in October 2019 that we would not stop until justice has been delivered in its entirety."

"Draghici is wanted in connection with a very serious offence. We strongly believe he is linked to the conspiracy which tragically ripped apart the families of the 39 innocent Vietnamese men, women and children who died on our shores in 2019."