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Organ trafficking angle probed in latest migrant smuggling case

Δημοσίευση 12 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 11:58 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Organ trafficking angle probed in latest migrant smuggling case
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Authorities in the northwest city of Ioannina, in cooperation with Interpol and Italian police, have launched an urgent investigation into a migrant smuggling case that may involve possible organ trafficking, given the enornmous amount of money involved in the migrants' transport via chartered executive jets and high-end passport forgeries.

Authorities in the northwest city of Ioannina, in cooperation with Interpol and Italian police, have launched an urgent investigation into a migrant smuggling case that may involve possible organ trafficking, given the enornmous amount of money involved in the migrants' transport via chartered executive jets and high-end passport forgeries.

Six Afghans, two couples, an infant and another adult, attempted to depart the Ioannina airport aboard a leased executive jet with forged Danish passports. The entire group was detained.

A 19-year-old Moroccan woman with Italian nationality, identified as a Paris-based travel agency employee in Greece since Jan. 4, was also arrested. The woman allegedly met the Afghan illegal immigrants in Athens with the group in tow boarded an intercity bus to Ioannina, from where they were supposed to fly to Rome on a chartered private plane reportedly leased in Milan.

A police investigation revealed that the young woman had arrived in Athens from Milan on Jan. 4 accompanied by another 19-year-old Moroccan woman, both working for the same travel agency. The second woman was arrested at Kavala airport, northeast Greece, on Jan. 7 in a similar case of migrant smuggling -- the latter involving 15 Afghans who again sported forged Danish ID cards. The Kavala group of illegals was also arrested before boarding two leased executive jets to fly to Genoa, Italy.

Authorities in Ioannina impounded the eight-seat private plane and arrested its two Italian pilots. The plane belongs to a Milan-based air transport company and was leased for a chartered flight by a travel agency in Paris. The leasing registration was made in Germany while in the Kavala airport case it was made in the UK. A flight plan was submitted in Brussels and Eurocontrol was notified, but the Ioannina airport authorities had no knowledge of the flight, considering that it requests a flight arrival notification 12 hours in advance due to the construction works underway.

Meanwhile, 31-year-old man, a travel agency employee on the Ionian island of Lefkada, was also arrested for paying the required flight fees. According to the flight confirmation documents, the plane was leased for 11,600 euros, a price deemed as bogus, considering that executive jets are leased for 6,000-8,000 euros per flight hour. Therefore, the specific flight should have cost roughly 40,000 euros.

Greek authorities are now investigating whether similar flights could have been made from other provincial airports in the country over the recent period.