A Wembley crime boss who masterminded a professional forgery racket that produced fake passports and driving licences was yesterday jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Brazilian Luis Bastos, 29, was found guilty of running the illegal network that manufactured made-to-order counterfeit identification documents.
The gang pocketed thousands of pounds from the secret operation, but were caught after a lengthy undercover Metropolitan Police operation.
Bastos, of Bridge Road, Wembley, and his three-man team of counterfeiters mass produced large numbers of bogus documents from a small flat in Bethnal Green, east London.
It had been converted into a state-of-the art forgery factory, complete with two computers, six high-quality printers, scanners, UV lamps, and other counterfeiting equipment.
Police swooped on the property in March last year and caught Bastos's three minions - Marcio De Oliveira, girlfriend Sarah Ruder, and Ronaldo Mendes - in the process of producing fake documents.
They also found 40 blank passports, passport photos, personal details of clients and an invoice book listing orders.
All three were arrested for conspiracy to manufacture and supply false identity documents.
Ringleader Bastos was arrested in Wembley on the same day, carrying banking cards in three false names, a counterfeit Portuguese drivers license and a fake UK national insurance card.
Further fake documents were found in his flat along with invoices and receipts for expensive machinery that could be used for counterfeiting.
Police searches at De Oliveira and Ruder's flat in Harringay also uncovered £2,780 in cash, blank cheques and 150g of cocaine, for which they were both further arrested.
Detectives believe the network was operating over a two-year period and for three months alone made more than £36,000.
DI Nick Downing, who led the police operation, said: "This was a well organised criminal business that was providing high quality counterfeit documents to anyone that could pay for them. This operation has completely taken out this organised crime network.
"In doing so it will help make London a tougher place for those criminals seeking to abuse our immigration system to operate."
Bastos was sentenced to six-and-a-half years at Southwark Crown Court on Monday.
Fellow Brazilians De Oliveira, 32, Ruder, 22, and Mendes, 26, were given four years each for their role in the scam and various drug-related offences.