Italian police checks cars at the border with France. Photo: ANSA/ ALESSANDRO DI MARCO
Italian police checks cars at the border with France. Photo: ANSA/ ALESSANDRO DI MARCO

Carabinieri police in Carpi, in the province of Modena in northern Italy, arrested five local residents accused of creating a criminal group for the illegal entrance and transport of foreigners to Italy and the rest of Europe.

Carabinieri police in Carpi, a town in the province of Modena, said a local bar served as the headquarters for a suspected criminal organization that worked in human trafficking in Italy as well as abroad. Police carried out arrest warrants issued by the Bologna prosecutor's office for three Italians (a 45-year-old born in the province of Reggio Calabria, the bar manager; a 48-year-old from the province of Foggia; and a 33-year-old from Matera; all Carpi residents), two Turkish citizens aged 49 and 54, and a 23-year-old Columbian. 

Foreigners paid up to 5,000 euros and more 

The arrests took place at sunrise on March 21 in a vast and complex operation involving about 40 Carabinieri officers, supported by helicopters from the Carabinieri in Forlì. The operation also brought the arrest of an Albanian man for drugs, and officers found hidden weapons. The investigation took more than six months. Investigators discovered the organization was illegally bringing Turkish citizens into Italy as well as the rest of Europe. The foreigners paid between 3,000 and 5,000 euros each to be brought into Italy. The prices were higher for Austria, Germany, or Slovenia.

About a dozen trips organized 

Investigators said the group organized at least a dozen trips between August of last year and February of this year, managing to bring about 30 people mainly from Turkey. Following arrival, the group organized requests for political asylum. The 45-year-old Calabrian is considered the group's leader and the trip organizer (charges include illegal entry and transport of foreign citizens in national territory and the rest of Europe), while the 39-year-old Turkish citizen had the task of selecting those who would be brought to Italy with the use of false documents. 

The route was Turkey-Greece-Italy and the operation took place in collaboration with Greek police, who last October arrested one of the drivers, a 23-year-old Columbian. Numerous wiretaps revealed trips that began in vehicles and then transferred to ships to reach Italian territory together with the undocumented foreigners.

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