The Latest: 10 detained suspected of trafficking migrants
MILAN (AP) — The Latest on migrants and refugees in Europe (all times local):
Romanian prosecutors say authorities have detained nine Romanian men and a Pakistani man suspected of illegally trafficking more than 100 migrants.
The directorate for investigating organized crime and terrorism said Tuesday that the Romanians were detained this week in western Romania and the Pakistani man taken into custody in Austria on suspicion they trafficked migrants from March to June 2017 through Cyprus, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Germany and Slovenia.
In one instance in April 2017, group leaders allegedly tried to smuggle 111 Iraqi, Syrian, Afghan, Indian and Pakistani citizens using false passports.
It said the smugglers were suspected of bribing border police so they wouldn’t check vehicles crossing the border into Hungary.
Hungary is a member of the Schengen visa-free travel area, but Romania isn’t.
Italian authorities have arrested 13 suspects in a high-speed migrant trafficking ring operating between Tunisia and Sicily whose members espoused radical jihadist views.
Italian financial police in Sicily said Tuesday that a wiretapped conversation between two traffickers revealed one saying he intended to travel to France and carry out a suicide attack and asking for prayers.
The trafficking group allegedly organized transport from the Tunisian port of Nabeul to Trapani in Sicily aboard rubber dinghies equipped with high-speed outboard motors and trained navigators for 3,000 euros ($3,690) to 5,000 euros per person. The traffickers also carried contraband cigarettes for a total value per trip of up to 70,000 euros, with the capacity to run two trips a week.
Police said the suspects were Italian, Tunisian and Moroccan.