Five arrests in Latvia and Derby as part of large modern slavery operation

Posted on 21st February 2018

Five people have been arrested during simultaneous warrants in Derby and Latvia as part of an ongoing, large-scale, investigation into modern slavery and human trafficking.

Two men, aged 25 and 39, and two women aged 23 and 33, were arrested at two houses in Latvia yesterday morning while a 32-year-old woman was arrested at a house in St James’ Road, Normanton at the same time.

All five were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy offences linked to slavery, trafficking and exploitation.

The 32-year-old woman, Jana Pelce, was charged late last night and will appear before magistrates in Derby today (Wednesday, February 21).

Those arrested in Latvia will appear before the courts and extradited to the UK over the coming weeks.

At one of the houses in Latvia, a man in his 60s was found living in a shack in the back garden. Officers believe him to be a victim of modern slavery and he is being supported by the Latvian authorities.

The arrests were made by Derbyshire police officers and officers from Valsts Policija (Latvian police), supported by the National Crime Agency tactical advisor.

Detective Chief Inspector Rick Alton said: “This action would not have been possible without the support of our colleagues in Latvia and the NCA’s tactical advisor.

“One man, who we believe to be a victim, was found living in the most appalling conditions I have seen in my career and I am pleased that he is now receiving the help he needs.

“These latest arrests bring the total number of people arrested as part of Operation Doubrava to 13. This is the largest modern slavery operation we have ever dealt with in Derbyshire.”

Detective Sergeant Carl Chetwyn said: “We are working closely with our Latvian counterparts as part of this operation and it shows that when it comes to modern slavery and trafficking, we can work together across borders to find suspects and help people we believe to be victims.

“The victims in cases like this are some of the most vulnerable in our society and their stories touch the heart of investigators and indeed anyone who hears it.”

Six people, arrested in the UK, have already been charged as part of the operation. They are; Ainars Pelcis (53) of Rutland Street, Ilgvars Pelcis (32), of St James Road, Karlis Aleksandrovs (41), of Patmore Square and Magdalena Kleina (54), of Rutland Street,  Jolanta Pelce (35) of Patmore Square and Mareks Kaira who is 24 and was living in Latvia at the time of his arrest.

Eight men and two women, thought be victims, were found when officers executed a series of warrants in Derby in September. Additional victims have since been identified.

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