Smugglers packed migrants in car boots for 250kph dash across Greek border

In one police video, two people are seen being pulled from the boot after the vehicle was stopped

People smugglers in high-end cars drove at speeds of up to 250 kilometres an hour to race through the Greek border region with migrants packed in the boot, police said on Friday.

Officers from three countries along the lucrative smuggling route joined forces to tackle the gang.

Twelve suspects were arrested in Bulgaria, Greece and Hungary and 25 vehicles were seized. The gang is alleged to have smuggled people from Turkey into Greece along the Evros border region, charging between €2,000 and €2,500 ($2,350 and $2,930).

In one police video, two migrants are seen being pulled from the boot by police after the vehicle was stopped.

In a two-year investigation, police detected more than 100 high-end cars being driven by the gang, of which 66 were seized before Wednesday’s raids. Some 43 people had already been arrested in connection with people smuggling.

The gang transported vehicles registered in Bulgaria and Georgia to northern Greece and Hungary, from where they were used to smuggle migrants at high speed through the border region to try to avoid detection, according to police.

One smuggler was killed and a number of migrants and smugglers were injured in several speeding accidents, police said. Of 442 migrants smuggled by the gang, 13 were injured crossing the border.

Northern Greece is an hub for people smuggling, particularly along the Evros river.

The police operation was carried out under a Greek plan to disrupt organised criminal networks and reinforce security controls in migration hotspots.

Greece is a popular transit point for migrants seeking a new life in Europe.

Updated: July 23rd 2021, 6:18 PM
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