German police smash migrant smuggling ring

by Reuters
Tuesday, 5 July 2016 15:05 GMT

BERLIN, July 5 (Reuters) - Germany has broken up a ring of human traffickers who smuggled mainly Syrian migrants into the country via Hungary and Austria for a charge of up to 1,500 euros ($1,671.00) each, federal police said on Tuesday.

The main suspect, a 48-year-old German man, and six other people were arrested during raids in the northwestern city of Wuppertal, near Duesseldorf, and four other towns in western Germany. All face several years in prison.

Over 1 million migrants arrived in Germany last year, many of them Syrians who came via a Balkan corridor since blocked as countries along the way tightened border controls, making Germany much harder for them to reach.

The trafficking ring used mobile homes, minibuses and cars to smuggle migrants into Germany, a federal police statement said. Raiding police seized over 10,000 euros in cash as well as numerous mobile phones, SIM cards, laptops and hard discs.

($1 = 0.8977 euros) (Writing by Paul Carrel)

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