Greece busts migrant trafficking network with seven arrests

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Greek police said Friday that they had broken up a network trafficking illegal migrants on the Turkish border, making seven arrests.

Police said the suspects were due to appear later Friday before the public prosecutor in the city of Thessaloniki, where they were detained Thursday on allegations of “illegal transport of at least 155 foreigners” since last August.

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The migrants were secreted in vehicles and smuggled across the border in an operation netting the traffickers some 300,000 euros ($325,000), according to police.

Each migrant had to pay 2,000 to 4,000 euros, the statement added, without specifying their nationalities.

Police also seized 13 vehicles as they searched for 14 other presumed members of the network, all but one believed to be Greek.

Thessaloniki, some 300 kilometers (187 miles) from the Turkish border, is a regular conduit for migrants fleeing conflict and poverty and to seek asylum in the European Union, of which Greece is a member.

Since taking office four years ago, Athens’s conservative government has reinforced its land and sea borders with Turkey in a bid to stem illegal arrivals.

It has claimed a degree of success, though Ankara has regularly accused Greece of illegal pushbacks of migrants to Turkey.

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