A 23-year-old man has been charged with human trafficking after the bodies of 39 people were found in a truck in England last month.
Essex Police said Christopher Kennedy, 23, was arrested on Friday in connection with the investigation into the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals. Their bodies were found at the back of a truck in an industrial park in Grays, Essex, 20 miles east of London in October.
Kennedy, who is from Northern Ireland, is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Monday, Essex Police said.
The driver, named as 25-year-old Maurice “Mo” Robinson, was charged last month with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, and money laundering.
Robinson, who is also from Northern Ireland, was arrested shortly after the bodies were found on October 23.
A third man, Eamon Harrison, 23, was arrested in Dublin on a European arrest warrant earlier this month. The police said they had started extradition proceedings to bring Harrison to the UK from Ireland so he can face charges of manslaughter, as well as human trafficking and immigration offenses.
Three other people were arrested in connection with the investigation in the UK – a 38 year-old man, a 38 year-old woman, and a 46 year-old man. They have all been released on bail, according to the police.
The police also issued an appeal for two other Northern Irish men, brothers Ronan and Christopher Hughes, saying the two were wanted on “suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking.”
Separately, police in Vietnam said earlier this month they have arrested eight people in connection with the case.
Journalist Peter Taggart in Belfast contributed reporting.