An operation by Guardia di Finanza police | Photo: ANSA/US GDF
An operation by Guardia di Finanza police | Photo: ANSA/US GDF

Finance police in Palermo have seized assets worth 1.5 million euros from a 40-year-old Tunisian citizen suspected of trafficking migrants. The move was part of a probe coordinated by the State attorney's office in the Sicilian city, investigative sources said on June 25.

Finance police in Palermo have seized assets worth 1.5 million euros from a 40-year-old man, Fadhel M., who is accused of trafficking migrants. 
The order was issued by the tribunal of Trapani at the request of prosecutors in Palermo who are coordinating the probe. 

Organization for illegal immigration 

Fadhel M. was arrested in January 2019 with 13 others as part of the anti-mafia operation ''Barbanera'' carried out by finance police in Palermo. 

The probe concerns an organization formed by Tunisians and Italians, allegedly led by Fadhel M., accused of favoring illegal immigration and tobacco smuggling, which operated between North Africa and the Sicilian provinces of Trapani, Agrigento and Palermo, investigative sources said. 

Migrants paid 3,000 euros for each ''trip'', they added.

Fadhel M. was previously arrested in 2012 on charges of possession of weapons and explosives. During the investigation, finance police discovered that the man's investments over time significantly exceeded his declared income. 

The tribunal of Trapani ordered the seizure of a house, two businesses and land in Marsala and Mazara del Vallo, as well as financial assets and a car. One of the companies seized is a farm. 

At the end of the ''Barbanera'' operation, in January 2019, a restaurant in downtown Marsala was also seized. Another company has now been authorized by magistrates to manage the restaurant.
 

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