Greek police have arrested four of their fellow officers and 18 others suspected of involvement in a major migrant-smuggling ring.
A total of 22 people have been arrested in Attica, Thessaloniki and Evros, in northeast Greece, including the head of the ring along with four officers from Evros police department, who are allegedly implicated in the smuggling operation.
The defendants have been charged with creating and participation in a criminal organization, facilitating illegal entry and exit from the country, smuggling third-country nationals, money laundering, forgery, falsifying documentation, bribery and misconduct.
Moreover, according to the police, there are about 50 more people allegedly implicated in the case, 14 of whom are Georgian citizens, and 44 foreigners accused of entering Greece illegally.
The police investigation found the ring had smuggled some 918 migrants in six years, receiving the respective remittances by money transfers from Turkey, Albania, Russia, Moldova, the U.K., Italy and the U.S. The ring had also a strong internal structure and each member had very specific responsibilities, said police.
According to the investigation, the implicated police officers received each 3,500 euros per month in order to facilitate the smuggling. Furthermore, a 58-year-old man from Georgia has allegedly been the intermediary between the members of the ring and Greek police.