A woman has been sentenced to five years jail for running the UK arm of an international human trafficking gang, following an investigation by the UK Border Agency.

Vietnamese national Thuy Nguyen, 41, was arrested at her home in Bow, east London, in February this year as part of an operation involving law enforcement agencies in five different countries.

Nguyen was a member of a criminal network that smuggles immigrants from Vietnam to Europe via Moscow or Paris, charging them up to £12,000 each.

"Nguyen exploited vulnerable immigrants to profit a major international organised criminal network. This was a major pan-European investigation involving law enforcement agencies in five European countries," said Andy Cummins, head of the UK Border Agency's South East Region Immigration Crime Team.

"Working with the police and other law enforcement partners at home and abroad, we are determined to tackle the organised criminals who prey on vulnerable immigrants, and take action against those who break the law," Cummins added.

Nguyen came to the attention of the UK authorities after her car was pulled over by traffic police at Clackett Lane Service Station on the M25 in November 2010.

Two of her passengers that day were Vietnamese illegal immigrants. Officers also found £11,000 cash in a plastic bag. She was arrested and later bailed, but further enquiries linked her to an organised crime group being investigated by French police.

Nguyen was re-arrested by officers from criminal and financial investigation team in London. European law enforcement agencies carried out coordinated raids in Paris, Prague, Berlin, Munich and Budapest and over 30 people were arrested.

Nguyen was charged with conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration and found guilty by the Maidstone Crown Court. Proceedings have now been launched to seize profits made by Nguyen.