Five arrested for smuggling migrants in Europe via private jet

Five people were arrested in Rome and Brussels for smuggling migrants from Turkey to western Europe via private jet in trips costing around ...

Five people were arrested in Rome and Brussels for smuggling migrants from Turkey to western Europe via private jet in trips costing around 10,000 euros ($10,000), Italian police said Wednesday.

The suspects, held on warrants issued by Belgian authorities, are accused of belonging to a criminal organization aimed at abetting illegal immigration, a statement said.
They would give migrants fake diplomatic ID papers from St. Kitts and Nevis and put them on aircraft headed to the Caribbean state with a stopover in Europe, the statement added.
Upon landing in a European airport, the migrants, described as mostly ethnic Kurds or Iraqis, would get off, declare their real identity and file for asylum, Italian police said.
According to investigators, who documented five separate landings in Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Belgium between October and December 2020, each migrant paid about 10,000 euros for the journey.
The suspects were arrested following joint investigations by police forces from the five European countries, with help from US authorities and European Union agencies Europol and Eurojust.
Three men — an Italian and two Egyptians — were detained in Rome, while another Egyptian and a Tunisian woman were arrested in Brussels, police chief Costantino Scudieri told Reuters.
Two more suspects remain on the run in Italy and Belgium. As part of the operation, Belgian police also seized two private jets worth 426,000 euros.

Cypriot police said the body of a man was retrieved off the Mediterranean island’s western coast Thursday after newly arrived migrants said one among them had fallen overboard.

Police said a group of 44 Syrians — including two women and four children — were found wandering in the Peyia area north of Paphos.
The migrants told police that a man on the boat they were traveling in had gone missing before they reached the shore.
Authorities launched a rescue operation, and the body of a man was discovered in the waters.
A police official said the body was found after an extensive search using a helicopter, but it had yet to be formally identified.
The missing migrant was reported to be a 24-year-old Syrian.
Police believe the Syrians were smuggled from Turkey and dropped off pre-dawn before the boat departed.
Cyprus has complained that people smugglers have driven a huge rise in asylum seekers landing on its shores from Turkey in recent years.
The small EU state has lobbied Brussels to take action over the “disproportionate” numbers of asylum seekers it receives.
After being processed, the migrants who arrived on Thursday morning will be transferred to a reception center outside the capital Nicosia.