News World Police break up Italo-Greek migrant trafficking group

Police break up Italo-Greek migrant trafficking group

Italian police said on Thursday they had arrested 13 people and dismantled an international crime gang that smuggled small groups of migrants from Greece to Italy aboard yachts.

The so-called “ghost boats” often avoid detection by coastguard patrols, allowing their passengers to vanish as soon as they reach land, escaping police registration.

Over the past year, the Italo-Greek organisation brought more than 100 people to Italy’s southern shores, demanding 6,000 euros each for the trip, police said.

The Greek side of the operation sought out clients in Turkey, which hosts millions of refugees in overcrowded camps.

After crossing the Aegean Sea, the migrants, mainly from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, were taken to Athens and then put on small boats provided by the Italians for the final leg of their trip.

“Sometimes payments were made through electronic systems, but we have also found bags with thousands of euros inside,” police lieutenant Francesco Di Sabato told Reuters, adding that the organisation raised around 600,000 euros over the last year.

Most trips to Italy started from the island of Corfu, where groups of up to 20 people were told to travel hidden below deck. They were all left on the Puglia coast, in Italy’s heel.

About 11,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat so far this year, some 8,000 arriving without the need of any help from the coastguard or NGO charity ships that patrol the Mediterranean, interior ministry data shows.

Most set sail from North Africa, but a regular trickle of boats have also arrived from Greece.

(File photo)


Top Stories

Three new coronavirus cases detected out of 3,036 tests

The Ministry of Health has announced that 3 new cases of the SARS-CoV-II virus were detected in Cyprus over the past 24 hours out...

Ministry of Health: New email address for covid protocol questions

An email address is now set up for any questions concerning the protocols and guidelines for matters regarding the COVID-19 virus, the public may...

Christodoulides tells EU counterparts Turkey chooses to escalate tensions with Cyprus

The Minister of Foreign Affairs presented the ongoing illegal actions of Turkey in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus to EU's Foreign Affairs Council...

CSEC investigates possible match fixing for Match Day 4 of Cyprus League

The Cyprus Sports Ethics Committee (CSEC) is investigating a possible match fixing in the framework of the Match Day 4 of the Cyprus football...

US donates personal protective equipment worth €15,000 to Famagusta Hospital

US Ambassador in Cyprus Judith Garber handed over on Monday personal protective equipment valued at €15,000, including over 13,000 masks and over 600 goggles...


Swordfish with aubergines

To toast the sesame seeds: place sesame seeds in a small non-stick frying pan over low heat and stir until you begin to smell...

Chicken with okra and bulgur wheat

Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the okra until golden. Remove the okra, lay out in an oven tray and sprinkle with...


Just a little before serving, heat the broth and add the ravioli. (If the ravioli is frozen you don’t have to defrost). Heat them...

Seafood kebab with avocado salad

Place the mussels, shrimps and salmon in a bowl together with tarragon and lemon zest. Season and cover, keeping in the fridge for 15...