Athlone man involved in human trafficking avoids jail

An Athlone man who got involved in a human trafficking operation within the State has avoided a jail sentence.

Adil Muhammad was ordered to complete 240 hours of community service in lieu of a four-year prison sentence for his role in providing fake passports to six Afghan nationals in 2018.

Muhammad, of Ankers Court, The Bower, Athlone, Westmeath, said he did not receive any payment for his role in providing passports for the Afghani Sikhs, who entered the State with fraudulent Indian passports.

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Muhammad pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of possession of false passports of January 15, 2018. He is originally from Pakistan.

Judge Martin Nolan said that the case troubled him and that Muhammad had involved himself in a human trafficking scheme.

Gardaí monitored certain flights coming in from Spain and in this case six individuals came in on a flight from Malaga on two separate days.

On each day the individuals had onwards flights booked for Abu Dhabi but once they passed immigration control they left the airport and took a taxi into town where they checked into a hotel for a number of days.

The court heard that the defendant met with them and they subsequently returned to Dublin airport and attempted to board flights to the UK. Gardai approached them and, on inspection, found the passports in their possession were false.

A follow up search of the defendants’ home in Athlone found six Indian passports. These were genuinely issued passports which had being obtained using false documentation, the detective said.

Muhammad was ordered to carry out 240 hours of community service and warned him he would serve a four-year prison sentence if he failed to do so.