People smuggling gang arrested on Greek island of Crete

TMP – 28/03/2017

A joint operation on the Greek island of Crete by the Greek police and coastguards and the UK’s National Crime Agency has resulted in the arrest of 18 members of a prolific people smuggling gang.

According to the Express newspaper, the suspected smugglers arrested during the operation. are believed to be from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Greece.

Officials believe the group is part of a larger international organised crime group who illegally smuggle people from Greece into northern Europe.

It is thought the gang charged between €2,000 (£1,727) and €4,000 (£3,455) per person to take them from Athens to Crete and then on to Italy via the sea.

The smuggling gang had hidden more than 100 migrants, including women and children, in a cave and abandoned farm buildings near the village of Tsoutsouros in the southern part of the island.

“The migrants, including many women and children, were kept in very poor conditions in caves and squalid farm buildings,” Chris Hogben, Deputy Head of the UK’s Organised Immigration Crime Taskforce, said.

“We will continue to work with our partners around the world and in the UK to pursue organised people smugglers, and take action against them,” he continued.