Europol Says Iraqi Migrant-Smuggling Gang Nabbed

(File photo: Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

THESSALONIKI — The European Union’s law enforcement agency says authorities have broken up an Iraqi gang that smuggled migrants and refugees into the United Kingdom from Spain.

Europol says the gang took Albanian migrants as well as refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria to the U.K. using regular ferry services from northern Spain, hiding them in trailers, caravans and trucks that were waiting in restricted parking bays to board the ferries.

The statement on Wednesday says Spain’s Guardia Civil arrested seven members of the gang, including Iraqis, Albanians and Spaniards, in raids on houses this month.


11:15 a.m.

Greek authorities say they are searching for a group of migrants who made an emergency call saying they were in danger while crossing a river marking the border between Greece and Turkey.

Police and fire department officials said Wednesday an unidentified person called an emergency number Tuesday afternoon saying they were among a group of 15 people trying to cross the Evros river, which was swollen by heavy rainfall. Rescue crews have been searching the area near the Greek village of Praki but had found nothing by Wednesday morning.

Hundreds of people attempt to cross from Greece to Turkey each week. Most make the crossing from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands, but many also attempt to cross the river, on the land section of the Greek-Turkish border.