A total of eleven people in the region of East Macedonia and Thrace have been arrested by the Hellenic Police since last Friday, in four different incidents of smuggling illegal migrants.
The latest incident involves a 23-year old Iraqi national who was arrested for transporting fifteen of his undocumented compatriots, five of them minors, in his van in Northern Greece on Thursday.
The suspect was driving on the Egnatia highway toward Thessaloniki, the capital of Macedonia, when police stopped the vehicle for a check and found the migrants hidden inside.
The migrants said they had entered the country illegally from the Greek-Turkish border at Evros, and paid €2,000 ($2,275) each for their transport to Greece.
Since 2016, when the EU-Turkey deal significantly reduced the flow of migrants from Turkey to the Greek islands, large numbers of smugglers have turned to land routes.
They are now using the narrow land border between Turkey and Greece in Thrace’s Evros district, despite the increased guarding of the area by both Greek and EU authorities.
If the migrants manage to get to the Greek side of the border, they are usually transported to Thessaloniki in private cars or vans provided by the smugglers. Usually, they keep traveling from there, either going to Athens or directly to other EU countries.
With information from A.M.N.A.