Thessaloniki: dismantling of international human trafficking network, five arrests

The international criminal organization for trafficking in immigrants, which had been operating since September last year, was liquidated by the Greek police with the assistance of Europol.

During an operation carried out in Northern Greece by police officers of the Thessaloniki Department for Foreigners, five members of the group, three foreigners and two Greeks, were arrested.

The perpetrators are accused of smuggling dozens of migrants from Turkey to Greece. Dealers “charged” from each of those transported from 2,000 to 3,000 euros. A characteristic feature of the activities of the criminal network is that they transported migrants by boat across the Evros River, and then placed them in a sheepfold (!) in the Rhodope region. The migrants were then taken by car to Thessaloniki, from where some continued on their way to the northern borders of the country, with the ultimate goal of reaching states located in Central or Northern Europe.

In total, the gang is involved in seven illegal routes, and on two of them, the prosecutor’s office arrested three participants on the spot, since they transported a total of 26 illegal immigrants. The investigation identified other individuals involved, as a result of which arrest warrants were issued against five of them.

Thus, in the previous 24 hours, arrests took place in the areas of Thessaloniki, Kavala, Xanthi and Rhodopes. Among those arrested are two Iraqi citizens, of whom, according to the Greek police, the first (47 years old) is the head of the network, and the second (52 years old) is its financial manager (treasurer).

During searches of two houses and a store, the police seized more than 22,000 euros, 17 mobile phones, 58 SIM cards, two passports and a driver’s license, a number of bank cards, fake car numbers, five driver’s licenses, a geolocation device, a video recorder and a number of personal documents of third parties.

The arrested were taken to the prosecutor’s office.

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