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Italian police arrest 19 besides people-smuggling ring

Authorities said that they dismantled a criminal organization that was transferring migrants from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan into Italy and subsequently into Northern Europe.

The investigation, headed by prosecutors from Catania, Sicily, introduced a system that included stolen or hired sailboats which were utilized to transport migrants through Turkey and Greece into Italy, according to authorities.

A few of the migrants then went north into the French border to be smuggled by automobile inside that nation with the support of people smugglers based in border cities, police said in a statement.

Among the alleged bases to the ring was at Bari, southern Italy, in which fictitious records were issued suggesting that the migrants had housing, a necessity for residency permits.

Bases were in Milan and Turin in northern Italy in Addition to the town of Ventimiglia, close to the French border.

Others allegedly involved with the plot falsified work contracts so that the migrants could apply for permission to live in Italy, police said.

The analysis started in 2018, triggered by the coming of 10 ships close to the southern Sicilian city of Syracuse.

The ships had drifted from Turkey and Greece from the Eastern Mediterranean, rather than from the southwest, from Libyan beaches, where for decades, nearly all the thousands and thousands of migrants were putting out from traffickers’ unseaworthy boats toward Italy.

The investigation uncovered that the activities of a community of Italians and foreigners, the majority of the latter holding residency licenses issued on grounds of global security, the authorities said.