Greek coast guard vessel | Photo: picture-alliance/Zumapress
Greek coast guard vessel | Photo: picture-alliance/Zumapress

Greek security forces have kept nearly 30 migrants from reaching Italy via sailboats and ferries. Moreover, they broke up a human-smuggling gang that reportedly brought migrants to western Europe via Greece and Italy systematically.

Over the weekend, Greek security forces have prevented 28 migrants from travelling to Italy from Greece by boat.

According to a statement by the authorities, the security forces also broke up a people-smuggling gang that was systematically bringing migrants to western Europe via Greece and Italy, news agency dpa reports.

The Greek coast guard on Sunday said it found and "arrested" five "foreigners" in the port of Igoumenitsa, in a truck headed toward Italy by ferry.

A day earlier, officials detained six suspected members of a human-smuggling gang and 23 migrants, the police said in an online statement.

Police followed the suspected smugglers because they had bought sailboats in western Greece and brought them to Corfu, an island on Greece's west coast on the border with Albania.

Other suspected gang members allegedly brought migrants to Corfu from the capital Athens, according to dpa.

€5,500 smuggling fee

According to the police, the smugglers then brought the migrants to Italy on sailboats at night. Each of them had to pay €5,500 ($6,284) for the journey.

The ports of Igoumenitsa and Patras on Greece's western coast are hubs for irregular migrants on the route from Turkey to Italy via Greece. Many of the smugglers there hope to put migrants on boats and ferries, which depart daily for Brindisi, Bari, Ancona, Venice and Trieste.

Earlier this month, two human smugglers were arrested in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. When police stopped the smugglers, they found three Somali men hidden in the trunk of their vehicle.

Currently, some 100,000 asylum seekers and migrants are in Greece, many of whom hope to travel onward to central and northern Europe.

With material from dpa


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