An ongoing police investigation is targeting members of a migrant smuggling operation from Greece to Italy, using the coasts of Achaea and Ilia. A 32-year-old Greek has already been arrested, while police are looking for at least two others. The group had transported 12 Afghans and 11 Pakistani migrants by truck, but were intercepted in a rural spot in western Achaea.
The truck began its journey in Attica, with a final destination the west coast of Achaea. The migrants were due to continue their journey to Italy in a small boat, but due to mechanical breakdown were trapped near Yianniskari beach, Achaea. Two of the smugglers escaped when the police arrived, while the 23 migrants and 32-year-old member of gang were arrested.
Among the migrants was a father and his 3-year-old son, who were about to return to Afghanistan via the International Organization for Migration. Five further Afghans were due to return home, while seven of the Pakistani migrants had pending applications for political asylum.
According to the police, smugglers prefer the coasts of western Achaea and Ilia because during the winter they are almost deserted and only rarely patrolled. Smugglers usually steal a small boat and transport the migrants to the coast of Italy. On some occasions, because the journey is difficult and dangerous, migrants are transferred to larger vessels in order to continue their trip.