Europol: Migrant Smugglers Using Private Aircraft Grounded I...| MENAFN.COM

Thursday, 29 September 2022 01:19 GMT

Europol: Migrant Smugglers Using Private Aircraft Grounded In Belgium, Italy


(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) BRUSSELS, Sept 16 (KUNA) -- Law enforcement authorities in Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and the United States dismantled a criminal network involved in migrant smuggling, document fraud and money laundering, Europol, EUآ's police agency (EUROPOL), reported Friday.
The migrants, mainly Iraqis and Iranians of Kurdish origin, boarded private aircraft in Turkiye carrying false diplomatic passports. However, the official destinations of the trips (usually the Caribbean) were never reached.
Eurojust (EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation) and Europol supported the action, said Europol in a statement at the Hague where it is based.
During the stopovers at different European airports, including in Austria, France and Germany, the migrants left the plane, disposed of their false passports and systematically applied for asylum. The suspects charged up to 20,000 euro (USD 19,919) per smuggled person.
It is believed that, between October and December 2020, at least five smuggling operations took place in five different European countries
In addition to migrant smuggling and forging identity documents, the organised crime group is also suspected of issuing false checks and scamming airlines in an attempt to build its own fleet. The suspects also allegedly defrauded hotels by not paying the invoices.
Five arrests were made, two in Belgium and three in Italy, as well as two aircraft, 80,000 euro, (USD 79,698), and equipment to forge ID documents, were also seized. (end)
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