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American caught at Glasgow Airport with 160 fake passports

12.04.06

A multi-million pound human trafficking operation was smashed when an American man was caught with 160 fake passports at Glasgow Airport. A worldwide operation tracked Gerald Fredericks, 60, as he travelled from Bangkok to the UK.

When Fredericks flew into Glasgow Airport, rather than Heathrow, where he believed security would be tighter, Customs officers pounced. They seized 160 counterfeit passports - all blank and ready to be sold to help in the cross-border movement of illegal immigrants.

Fredericks, an American living in Bangkok, was denied entry to the UK but held while the investigation was completed. He has now been remitted to the High Court in Paisley for sentence after pleading guilty to the offence at the town's sheriff court.

Sheriff David Pender told Fredericks the maximum jail term he could impose would be five years. He said he would leave it to the High Court to determine whether that would be sufficient for such a serious crime, adding: 'In these days of international terrorism, the possibility of criminal activity is endless and on one view, frightening, if these fell into the wrong hands.'

Fredericks, who has been held on remand since his arrest in January, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to further the illegal movement of persons by being concerned in the supply of counterfeit passports. The Vietnam war veteran admitted entering the UK at Glasgow Airport in possession of 160 counterfeit European Union French passports, with the intention of distributing them.

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