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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsFive Police Officers Arrested in Greece Over Migrant Smuggling

Five Police Officers Arrested in Greece Over Migrant Smuggling

Migrant Smuggling Greece
Greece has announced plans to extend the steel fence that runs along Evros River. Credit AMNA

Five police officers were arrested in Greece on suspicions of working with a migrant smuggling network that illegally brought people into the country from Turkey.

The five men appeared before a prosecutor in the northeastern city of Orestiada, a day after the police department’s internal affairs division said they had been arrested on suspicion of taking bribes and breach of duty.

The police officers were working for a special border guard force near the Evros River that runs along the northeastern Greek land border with Turkey.

A police statement said the five suspects are believed to have facilitated the entry of at least 100 people since late October, using boats to cross the Evros River.

“An investigation so far has shown that the officers had been in contact with networks operating in a neighboring country at least since October, and allegedly carried out actions or omissions aimed at facilitating the entry of (non-EU) nationals into our country,” it said.

Evidence linked to the case includes nearly 60 cell phones and foreign currency from a number of countries, the police said.

During the arrests in the border town of Didymoteicho Monday, police confiscated some $28,000 in cash. The operation followed an investigation by the police internal affairs squad.

Greece to extend Evros fence

The Evros River is a key crossing point into Greece for people seeking a better life in the European Union.

With the stepping up of patrols in the Aegean Sea making it harder for migrants to reach Greek islands, more are taking their chances by crossing Evros, and having traffickers take them from there by road.

Greece has decided to extend by 35 kilometers (22 miles) a 5-meter high steel fence that runs along the river.

The fence is currently 38 kilometers long, and Athens aims to carry out the extension within a year, adding a total of 100 kilometers by 2026.

Migrant smuggling cases in Greece on the rise

Greek authorities have long battled with the steady flow of undocumented migrants fleeing war-torn and hostile countries for asylum.

In January 2023 Greek police smashed a criminal gang that smuggled migrants packed into trucks across the border with Turkey for up to 4,000 euros each.

Police arrested seven suspects on charges of forming a criminal cartel, while at least 20 more have been identified. Images were released of tiny hidden compartments inside the vehicles that were used to smuggle the migrants.

The suspects are accused of trafficking up to 155 people from Turkey in the last six months, making around 300,000 euros.

Last July Greek police dismantled an international criminal organization that trafficked undocumented migrants into and out of the country.

Arrests were made throughout Athens’ Attica region with authorities apprehending nine foreign nationals suspected of working for the group along with three migrants. Similar cases against another nineteen people were also reportedly filed.

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