A man has been arrested over the deaths of at least 27 people who drowned attempting to cross the English Channel in a dinghy last year.
The National Crime Agency reported that Harem Ahmed Abwbaker, 32, was arrested on Tuesday in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
He is charged with being a member of a group that planned to send the migrants to the UK in November.
On Wednesday, he is scheduled to appear in court in London regarding his extradition to France, where he is accused of manslaughter.
The incident on November 24, 2021 is regarded as one of the worst Channel migrant tragedies.
All but two people onboard died when the small boat sank after leaving the French coast. According to French prosecutors, there were 17 men, 7 women, and 3 children among the deceased.
Four people remain missing, the NCA said.
At the time, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the deaths as a “disaster”.
Mr Abwbaker, who will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, also faces French charges of facilitating illegal immigration.
NCA deputy director Craig Turner described the arrest as “significant”.
He said: “The individual detained today is suspected of having played a key role in the manslaughter of those who died.
“Working closely with our French partners we are determined to do all we can to get justice for the families of those whose lives were lost, and disrupt and dismantle the cruel organised criminal networks involved in people smuggling.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “My thoughts continue to be with the families of all of those who tragically lost their lives in this horrendous incident.
“I thank the NCA and other agencies across the UK and France for their tireless work to deliver justice for the victims and their families by identifying those we believe to be responsible and ensuring they feel the full force of the law.”