People-smuggling network smashed

The Hellenic Police have used National Crime Agency (NCA) intelligence to dismantle a people-smuggling network.

Comprising two organised crime groups, the smugglers were moving migrants from Greece to countries in Northern Europe and Canada via the Balkans.

They charged 4000-6000 Euros for passage to European countries and as much as 16,000 Euros for passage to Canada.

The NCA shared intelligence with the Hellenic Police that identified senior members of the group and their criminal activities.

NCA supported the Greek investigation through frequent intelligence exchange and by conducting inquiries using its own international network, with Europol also providing assistance.

Hellenic Police raided several houses and shops in Athens andĀ found and confiscated 17 passports, 24 cell phones, 3 laptops, 3,400 euros cash, a UV machine and a car.

12 foreign nationals were arrested in the Greek operation, which took place on May 30 and 31 in Athens.

Seven of those arrested were members of the ring, four were migrants waiting to be moved along the route and one was in possession of a fraudulent ID.

Seven members of the network are already serving sentences in Greek prisons.

Steve Bennett, head of the NCA’s Europe and Africa desk, said: “Violence and exploitation go hand in hand with people-smuggilng.

“This network posed a significant risk to people in multiple countries.

“Organised immigration crime is a cross-border threat, so it’s vital that law enforcement agencies share intelligence and cooperate as fully as possible.

“This operation shows how important and effective our joint work can be.”

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