AP

European police break up jet-setting migrant smuggling route

Sep 14, 2022, 3:19 PM | Updated: Sep 15, 2022, 3:38 am

ROME (AP) — Police in Italy and Belgium have arrested five people accused of smuggling migrants carrying fake diplomatic passports into Europe aboard luxury jets, Italian police said Thursday.

Migrants paid up to 10,000 euros (dollars) each to be flown from Turkey into European countries aboard jets that the smugglers fraudulently booked for diplomats, said Costantino Scuderi, police chief in the southern Italian city of Bari.

At least five such flights were made between October and December 2020, transporting the migrants to five separate countries. One flight landed in Bari in November 2020.

The migrants were mostly Kurds or Iraqi citizens carrying counterfeit diplomatic documents from St. Kitts & Nevis, and flight plans indicated the Caribbean nation as the final destination after layovers in Europe. Once they arrived in Europe, however, the passengers declared their real nationalities and requested asylum, according to Italian police.

The smuggling operation was headed by an Egyptian man living in Brussels who is also a pilot. He was arrested on Wednesday in Brussels along with a Tunisian woman, while two of his brothers were arrested in Rome with an Italian suspect.

Italian police said the arrests were the culmination of an investigation involving police in Germany, France and Austria, in addition to Italy and Belgium, coordinated by Europol, with the cooperation of U.S. Homeland Security.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

10 hours ago

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

2 days ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

3 days ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

3 days ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

4 days ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

4 days ago

European police break up jet-setting migrant smuggling route