Police smash ring smuggling migrants from Turkey to Italy in yachts


ATHENS (Reuters) – European police have dismantled a legal community that made lots of of thousands and thousands of euros smuggling migrants from Turkey to Italy primarily on yachts, Greek police mentioned.

Greece and Italy have been on the frontline of Europe’s migration disaster because it started in 2015. While most migrants and refugees sometimes cross from Turkey to close by Greek islands, a rising variety of individuals have reached Italy from Turkey by sea since 2020, in accordance to the United Nations refugee company.

Twenty-nine individuals had been arrested in raids in Albania, Greece and Italy on Jan. 19, Greek police mentioned late on Thursday. It mentioned the community was lively in all three international locations, in addition to a Turkey, since early 2020.

Europol, the European police group which backed the operation, mentioned at the very least 1,100 migrants have been smuggled by the community of about 80 individuals which is believed to have made “lots of of thousands and thousands of euros”.

Most transfers happened by sea from Turkey to Italy primarily on leisure vessels together with yachts, but in addition overland from Greece to Italy by means of Albania. Smugglers charged round 5,000 euros per individual.

Some of the yachts used had been stolen from areas in western Greece and the group in Turkey recruited and educated skippers primarily from Ukraine, the Greek police assertion mentioned.

Last month, greater than 30 asylum-seekers drowned and plenty of extra had been feared lacking in three shipwrecks that occurred inside days of one another in Greece. According to the coast guard, survivors mentioned they had been headed to Italy.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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