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39 people were arrested in a major operation in several countries, including the Netherlands. They are suspected of being part of a large human smuggling network. International organizations Europol and Eurojust report this.
The group smuggled migrants in boats across the Channel from France to the United Kingdom. It is related to a smuggling network that has been active since at least October 2020 and may have helped thousands of people cross. The suspects were arrested in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and France.
Yesterday it was already announced that six people had been arrested in the Netherlands, in Helmond, Dungen and Tilburg. There were also searches. The seventh person is still being searched for.
Europol posted pictures of the arrests in Germany on YouTube:
The suspects arrested in the Netherlands are all Iraqi Kurds with a Dutch residence permit. A spokesman for the Royal Dutch Mariechussi said they were primarily responsible for providing the materials. Life jackets and boats were found in the commercial buildings that were searched.
Most of the arrests took place in Germany. Eighteen people were arrested there. In total, about 1,200 life jackets, 150 inflatable boats and about 40 thousand euros in cash were seized. Three leaders of the organization were also arrested. However, they were not caught in the Netherlands.
2500 euros per immigrant
The suspects asked the migrants for between 2,500 and 3,000 euros for a journey across the canal. Sometimes they would send as many as fifteen boats into the water at the same time. It is estimated that about half of these made it to England.
Many other boats carrying migrants are intercepted, but boats also happen to sink or capsize. For example, last October 27 migrants died when their boat capsized off the French coast.
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