Greek police have dismantled an international migrant trafficking ring that had been using boats to smuggle hundreds of people, mainly Syrians, from Turkey to Greece and Italy, authorities said Thursday.
Police arrested 14 people — eight Greeks, five Syrians and an Iraqi — in Athens and the island of Rhodes on Wednesday, while another 14 were being sought in Turkey, Belgium and Germany, authorities said.
The ring had allegedly been charging between €1,200 and €2,500 in cash per person for transportation from Turkey to Greece, with children charged at half price, authorities said. They said the trafficking ring also had been smuggling migrants from Greece to Italy, and had been providing forged documents.
Those arrested included the alleged ringleader and a man who is suspected of handling the gang’s finances, both of whom are Syrian, and a Greek who was allegedly responsible for providing vehicles and boats to transport the migrants.
Police said the ring was suspected in at least 10 smuggling attempts that were intercepted in Greece or Turkey over the past year, involving more than 340 migrants.