A money laundering gang has been smashed after the UK’s answer to the FBI seized more than three quarters of a million pounds.
Four crooks, including a husband and wife from Sale, Trafford, were snared when the National Crime Agency (NCA) put them under surveillance at a North London hotel.
NCA investigators recovered £760,000 during the undercover sting.
They watched as French national Yongheng Jin met with Albanian Marsel Meco in the car park of the hotel.
From the boot of a vehicle they removed a large black suitcase.
Officers stopped Jin as he entered the hotel with the luggage and found that it contained approximately £420,000.
In Jin’s hotel room, officers recovered numerous items associated with money laundering, including a cash counting machine, bundles of money, a UV counterfeit money detector, scales, rubber bands, cash bags, numerous pieces of paper recording large numbers, bank cards, and several mobile phones.
During the search another man, Luis Martos Gardner, a Spanish national, knocked at the door.
Suspecting he may be involved, officers arrested him and when they searched his car they recovered more than £340,000 split into several bags. They also discovered several mobile phones and a pocket diary which contained multiple bank notes of differing currency.
After gathering further evidence, officers arrested Xiaoqun Tu, a German national and wife of Yongheng Jin, at their home in Sale, Trafford, in March 2017. They recovered mobile phones, a laptop and more cash.
All four pleaded guilty to money laundering offences at Kingston Crown Court and were sentenced to a total of 11 years and 10 months imprisonment.