Europe

Europe police 'smash people-smuggling ring'

Police have arrested 103 people suspected of being part of a "major people-smuggling criminal network", says EU police agency Europol.

The suspects are accused of smuggling people from countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria into the EU.

They were transported in "inhuman" conditions, Europol said.

The arrests, part of a Europe-wide operation, took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Europol said it was one of the largest ever co-ordinated actions against people-traffickers.

The agency said 1,200 police were involved in Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic, Turkey and Kosovo.

Laptops, mobile phones, cash and bank statements were seized along with a semi-automatic weapon and ammunition, the agency said.

The gang had smuggled in the clandestine migrants mainly via Turkey and the Western Balkans, Europol said.

"The migrants were often smuggled in inhuman and dangerous conditions, such as in very small hidden compartments in the floor of buses or trucks, in freight trains or on boats," said Europol.

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