REPORT: Human Smugglers Who Accidentally Suffocated 39 Immigrants In Storage Container Found Guilty

(Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Kyle Heckman Contributor
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Two men who accidentally suffocated 39 Vietnamese immigrants in October of 2019 were reportedly found guilty and are facing life in prison.

The 10-week trial reportedly found Gheorghe Nica, 43, and Eamonn Harrison, 24, guilty on 39 counts of manslaughter. Convictions pertaining to the case so far include the haulage boss Ronan Hughes and driver Maurice “Mo” Robinson, the Independent reported.

The immigrants reportedly ranged between the ages of 15 and 44, and all suffocated as they were being transported in a shipping container. They were found dead in the trailer in Essex on Oct. 23, according to the Independent. (RELATED: ‘Nice Try’: TSA Finds Box Cutters Smuggled In A Shampoo Bottle)

“You would not transport animals in that way but they were quite happy to do that and put them at significant risk,” Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten of Essex Police told the Independent, adding that he thought the gang was “greedy” but “complacent.”

The gang reportedly charged around £13,000 a person to transport immigrants in a trailer to Essex. The network had been running for at least 18 months an had made over £1 million for the last month alone, reported the Independent.

Harrison picked up 39 immigrants in France on Oct. 22, according to the report. His trailer was then reportedly loaded on to a ship which departed from Zeebrugge at about 4 p.m. and arrived at Purfleet a little after midnight.

Robinson then collected the trailer and was instructed by Hughes via Snapchat to get the immigrants air quickly, the Independent reported. When he opened the doors, vapor poured out. After 23 minutes, Robinson reportedly dialed an official emergency number, 999.

A police officer that was on the scene described the half-naked victims as “closely packed” and said some were “frothing at the mouth,” according to the Independent.

Mobile phones that were recovered reportedly show the victims left messages for their loved ones after realizing they were running out of air. Some of the other victims had tried to use a metal pole to try and punch holes in the roof of the container or possibly to attract attention, the Independent reported.