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Italy cracks down on high-speed migrant traffickers


MILAN — Italian police issued 18 arrest warrants Thursday for Italians and Tunisians accused of working a migrant-trafficking route on high-speed boats between Tunisia’s coast and Sicilian ports.

The suspects are alleged to have demanded fee of three,000-5,000 euros ($3,100-$5,200) in money per individual, packed the boats with 10 to 30 passengers at a time, and pocketed 30,000-70,000 euros for every four-hour journey, police mentioned in a press release.

The investigation was launched in February 2019 after a fisherman in Sicily’s port of Gela seen a 10-meter glass fiber boat with two 200-horsepower motors. Investigators found the boat had been stolen 10 days beforehand in Catania, Sicily.

Arrest warrants have been issued for 11 Tunisians and 7 Italians. They face expenses of unlawful cross-border trafficking of greater than 5 individuals, with the irritating circumstance of inhuman remedy and endangering the lives of migrants and committing crimes for revenue.

A Tunisian couple already jailed on a people-trafficking conviction have been recognized because the presumed masterminds of the scheme.

Two Tunisians based mostly in Sicily have been accused of getting managed the cash, whereas 5 Italians allegedly organized housing for the migrants and switch of the traffickers to and from ports.

The warrants additionally goal 4 different alleged traffickers, one Italian and three Tunisians, and 4 Tunisians who made connections with the migrants in northern Africa.

Also sought is the proprietor of a small farm with a non-public airfield that allegedly functioned as a base for the operation. The farmer was accused of offering employment paperwork for a few of the Tunisian operatives to legitimize their presence in Italy.

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While the brand new Italian authorities has cracked down on humanitarian rescue ships that decide up migrants departing Libya within the central Mediterranean Sea, the vast majority of migrants arriving in Italy journey alongside routes from Tunisia.

Follow AP’s protection of world migration at



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