Italy dismantles a network to transport migrants from Türkiye

Smugglers pick up migrants directly on the Turkish coast, often in Izmir, to take them to southern Italy.

By Le Figaro with AFP

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A rescue operation is underway, coordinated by the National Coast Guard Marine Rescue Center, on a fishing boat with about 800 migrants on board near the Italian coast, April 10, 2023. note

Italian police said they arrested 29 people on Wednesday for belonging to A smuggling ring From Türkiye and Greece immigrants to northern Europe across Italy.

According to the Calabrian Police, in the very south of the peninsula, this investigation opened in 2018, which made it possible to unmask “A criminal group (made up of) Middle Eastern nationals, mostly from Iraqi KurdistanWith active subsidiaries in Greece, Italy and Turkey.

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The crew usually consists of Ukrainians

Francesco Messina, one of its senior officials, said that the Italian police cooperated in these investigations with Interpol and Europol, as well as with Turkish, Greek, Belgian, German, Swiss, British and Moroccan law enforcement authorities. Immigrants paid 7,000 to 15,000 euros for “a tripIn Europe, the police said in a statement.

They paid the first installment of this amount to the branch of the criminal organization in Aksaray (central Turkey), which was to undertake to transport them to Greece, generally to the port of Thessaloniki, and then to Athens and Patras, where they boarded sailing boats. Smugglers also picked up migrants directly on the Turkish coast, often in Izmir, to take them to southern Italy.

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The crew of these sailboats were generally made up of Ukrainians or other nationals of former Soviet countries, according to the police. “As soon as the immigrants approached the Italian shores, they were put in contact with members of the Italian branch (of the criminal group), who helped them get to northern Italy for the sum of 500 to 600 euros.“.

The migrants were taken first to Milan or Turin (north), then to Trieste (eastern border) or Ventimiglia (French-Italian border), where they crossed the border in trucks, trains, or taxis. Those who could not pay for certain stages of their journey remained stuck and members of the network asked them to contact their families in their home countries to obtain the necessary funds.

More than 45,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since the start of the year, according to Italy’s Interior Ministry, nearly four times more than last year over the same period.

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