French and Dutch authorities arrest 23 suspected smugglers
In a joint operation conducted by French and Dutch authorities with Eurojust coordination, 23 persons have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling “approximately 10,000 Kurdish migrants to the United Kingdom,” European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation said on 22 January.
The smuggled migrants were picked up from parking areas between Le Mans and Poitiers, France. They were then transferred in various types of vehicles, including small rubber boats and refrigerated lorries.
“Total profits for the criminal network amounted to EUR 70 million,” Eurojust says. Migrants were allegedly being charged up to EUR 7,000 for an irregular journey to the UK.
Nineteen suspects were taken into custody in France and a further four were arrested in the Netherlands. TMP asked Eurojust spokesman Ton van Lierop for more information about the suspects’ identities, but he said “unfortunately, I have no further information on the nationalities.”
According to a statement by Eurojust, authorities in France began their investigations into the large-scale migrant smuggling network in August 2018 after a number of suspects were spotted with vehicles with Dutch license plates.
TMP – 30/01/2020
Photo credit: NeydtStock / Shutterstock
Photo caption: Mulhouse – France – 29 April 2018 – french gendarmerie patrol with bulletproof vests in border forest