A FUGITIVE hunted by police over the deaths of 39 migrants in an Essex lorry phoned cops moments after the driver was arrested, it is reported.
Ronan Hughes, 40, and his brother Christopher Hughes, 34, from Armagh, Northern Ireland are wanted for questioning on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking.
It's claimed Ronan Hughes rang detectives trying to find out information about Mo Robinson, 25, after he was arrested in Grays last Wednesday.
The bodies of eight women and 31 men were found in a lorry trailer at an industrial estate.
A source told Belfast Live: "Ronan Hughes made a telephone call to police in the UK from a mobile phone shortly after 2am last Wednesday.
“He said he needed to talk to someone about Mo Robinson and claimed Robinson was legit and had nothing to with anything illegal and knew nothing about the cargo.
'FUGITIVE'S COP CALL'
“Hughes confirmed he knew Robinson and pushed to get a number of questions answered. He gave his [own] date of birth and an address.
“We believe he was trying to establish how much and what information the police had at that time.
“He appeared willing to co-operate with police, but he has not been contactable since.”
Yesterday, Essex Police released photos of the Hughes brothers, who run a haulage business on the Northern Ireland border with the Republic.
Ronan Hughes is alleged to have leased the refrigerated container from another Irish company, Dublin-based Global Trailer Rentals (GTR).
There is no suggestion the brothers were aware of the plot to smuggle migrants using the cab or the container.
Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Hooper, said: "Finding and speaking to the Hughes brothers is crucial to our investigation."
Meanwhile, police in Vietnam investigating the migrants' deaths have identified the millionaire kingpin believed to be behind the fatal people-smuggling plot, it is reported.
A special police task force believes gang lord Mr Truong has made millions trafficking desperate Vietnamese migrants into Britain and the US.
The mob master is thought to lead the gang in Vietnam, but work alongside the Chinese Snakehead crime syndicate set up in the 1980s by the infamous Jing Ping Chen, known as the Godmother of the Snakeheads, or Sister Ping.
At least 24 of the victims found in the lorry trailer on an industrial estate in Grays last week are said to be from the Ha Tinh province and neighbouring Nghe An provinces of Vietnam.
A source told the Daily Mirror: "As much as these gangs like to hide in the shadows, their names are being whispered in the community.
“While they now threaten the families who were smuggled with violence to keep them silent, each day the police are building up a picture on the operation Truong oversees.”
On Monday, Robinson appeared in court charged with manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic.
The dad-to-be is accused of being part of a global ring of people smugglers.
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