Five arrested for smuggling migrants to Europe via private jet
Five suspected smugglers have been arrested in Rome and Brussels as they attempted to smuggle immigrants from Turkey to Europe on private planes.
As explained by the European Union’s agency for cooperation in criminal justice, Eurojust, official travel destinations, mainly the Caribbean, were never reached. However, the authority described irregular migrants as mostly Kurds or Iraqis, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Meanwhile, during stopovers at various European airports, including Austria, France and Germany, immigrants got off the plane, removed their false passports and systematically applied for asylum. In addition, the suspects were demanding up to 20,000 per person smuggled.
“It is believed that between October and December 2020, at least five smuggling operations took place in five different EU countries. In addition, several plans were made to carry out other smuggling operations. Apart from smuggling migrants and forging identity documents, the organized crime group is also suspected of issuing fake checks and defrauding airlines in a bid to build its own fleet. The suspects also allegedly defrauded hotels by not paying bills,” the agency said.
According to Eurojust, during the September 13 day of action, authorities arrested two people in Belgium and three in Italy. At the same time, seven home visits were carried out, two in Belgium and six in Italy.
🚨 Migrant smuggling with private planes stopped 🛬
The criminals had charged up to EUR 20,000 per person for flights to 🇪🇺.
🚔 5 arrests
✈️ 2 planes, money and other property seized
— Eurojust (@Eurojust) September 16, 2022
In addition, Eurojust announced that two planes with €80,000, a high-end car, electronic equipment and equipment to falsify identity documents, including card printers, stamps, holograms and plastic cards white, were seized. Police also seized €173,000 frozen in Italy.
The ongoing investigation was assisted by the European agency Europol and various American authorities, and the suspects were arrested after joint operations in five European countries.
In this regard, the head of the Egyptian police, Costantino Scudieri, said that four men and a woman were arrested in total, an Italian and two Egyptians were arrested in Rome, while an Egyptian and a Tunisian were arrested. in Brussels.
As for the other two suspects, it is reported that they are still at large and that they are respectively in Italy and Belgium. As part of the investigations, the Belgian police also seized two private planes worth €426,000.
In June 2021, Eurojust supported the authorities involved in setting up and funding a Joint Investigation Team (JIT). It also organized four coordination meetings to facilitate judicial cooperation and support coordinated investigative efforts.