British and Greek police smash Crete trafficking gang

Boats carrying refugees arrive in Lesbos in 2015 - library photo via eKathimerini

sky News — Greek police, supported by officers from the National Crime Agency Invigor organised immigration taskforce, carried out a series of raids in the cities of Heraklion and Chania on Crete on Monday, arresting six people aged between 23 and 49.

Four of the men were Greek, the others a Syrian and an Iraqi.

The gang are believed to have charged migrants up to £4,500 to take them from Egypt to Crete and arranging accommodation and false documents.

From there they would be transported onwards into other northern European countries, often via another boat journey to Italy.

The same gang is believed to be responsible for an attempt to cross to Italy in an unseaworthy vessel in May this year, which led to 60 migrants being rescued off the coast of Crete.

Invigor head Chris Hogben said: “The kind of people-smuggling networks we see operating in the Mediterranean represent a huge risk to the lives of those they transport.

“These criminal gangs treat migrants as a commodity to be profited out of – they don’t care about keeping them in horrendous conditions or using completely unsuitable or unseaworthy vessels to move them hundreds of miles across the sea.”