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General News: Police dismantle human-trafficking ring behind Corfu shipwreck

Δημοσίευση 22 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 11:11 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
General News: Police dismantle human-trafficking ring behind Corfu shipwreck
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Authorities on Friday announced the dismantling an organised ring of human traffickers linked to a disastrous shipwreck off the island of Corfu, in which an unknown number of people are believed to have drowned. The ring was made up of at least seven individuals that charged hefty fees to transport illegal migrants to Italy and was dismantled in joint operations by the police and coast guard.

Authorities on Friday announced the dismantling an organised ring of human traffickers linked to a disastrous shipwreck off the island of Corfu, in which an unknown number of people are believed to have drowned. The ring was made up of at least seven individuals that charged hefty fees to transport illegal migrants to Italy and was dismantled in joint operations by the police and coast guard.

Two Iraqis and one Moroccan national were arrested by Nikaia police based on a warrant issued by a public prosecutor on Corfu. The two Iraqis are believed to be the leaders of the ring and were responsible for the fatal journey using the aged wooden boat that sank on January 15, 30 nautical miles west of Corfu.

An unknown number of illegal migrants were on board the vessel, of which 228 were rescued from the water by a passing freighter and returned to Corfu harbour, among them five women and 11 children. The survivors said that there were at least 260 people on board the boat but no bodies have been recovered by authorities so far.

According to information collected by police, the migrant smugglers transported the migrants in trucks from Schisto, Lefkas and loaded them onto the wooden vessel bound for Italy.

Also arrested in connection with the case were two Turks caught on Corfu, who had been sailing the shipwrecked boat, a 41-year-old Syrian national in Neos Kosmos and an Afghan national arrested by coast guard officers in Attica.