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Suspected Migrant Smuggler Dies While Evading Greek Police

October 26, 2020

THESSALONIKI — A man described by Greek police as most likely a migrant trafficker was killed while trying to avoid a police checkpoint in the north of the country, and another was arrested after also fleeing and killing six sheep and a sheepdog with his vehicle.

The separate incidents occurred Saturday, but police announced them Sunday.

The first driver was stopped on a country road in northern Greece, at some distance from the Greek-Turkish border, police said. After seeing the checkpoint, he drove away at a high speed and crashed into a tree, according to police. 

They said the man was pronounced dead at a hospital and didn't have documents that would help identity him. 

The man who drove into a flock of sheep also had been stopped on a country road near the city of Kavala, police said. They described the arrested driver as a 30-year-old Syrian.

Police sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about cases under investigation, said they suspect both men were migrant traffickers heading to the Greek-Turkish border to pick up people.

Police say they use the pretext of checking on drivers' licenses to stop suspected traffickers because most aren't licensed to drive and in many cases they use stolen cars, fake license plates or both.

Traffickers, having caught on that police are setting up highway checkpoints, have taken to using back roads. But recent reinforcements have allowed police to try to apprehend suspects on less-used roads as well.

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