Greek police have dismantled a major human trafficking ring in the port city of Patras and Athens leading to the arrests of Greek and foreign nationals.
Five Greek nationals and four Pakistani, Azerbaijani and Indian nationals were arrested for trafficking migrants from Evros to the mainland, after a broad-scale operation by Security Directorate of Patras.
The sweep took place in several areas of Attica.
Another 30 collaborators have also been identified, whom police said were involved in the trafficking of at least 228 migrants in 51 instances of transportation in as many vehicles, charging a fee of 5,000 euros per person.
Operating since 2020, the human trafficking ring was also collaborating with traffickers in Turkey, it was noted, trafficking migrants through Greece to other European Union countries. The traffickers set up migrants initially in Thessaloniki, where they also held hostage any migrants who had not fully paid up.
The 47 rented or stolen vehicles confiscated came from Achaia and Attica prefectures and the Cycladic and Dodecanese Islands, while the traffickers are estimated by police to have earned 1.2 million euros. All the arrested were expected to be led before the First-Instance Court prosecutor of Patras.
In a related development in human trafficking, another ring was dismantled following the arrest on September 29 of a foreign national, 41, by Greek Police, and the arrest of a Tunisian national on the Athens-Lamia national highway near Varibopi on October 16, while he was driving four undocumented migrants.
Police said the ring had arranged for 16 migrants to leave Turkey through the forested areas of the Evros borders, where they were helped to enter Greek territory. The undocumented migrants were then transported to Thessaloniki, and the Tunisian picked up four of them to drive them to Athens. He had also planned for their flights to EU countries.
The Tunisian was led before a Misdemeanours Court prosecutor in Athens.