French police arrest seven people-smuggling suspects

Gang allegedly raked in up to €3m in one year

CALAIS, FRANCE - JULY 31:  Men watch as a train arrives at the Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles on July 31, 2015 in Calais, France.  Hundreds of migrants are continuing to attempt to enter the Channel Tunnel and onto trains heading to the United Kingdom.  Strike action and daily attempts by hundreds of migrants to enter the Channel Tunnel and onto trains heading to the United Kingdom is causing delays to passenger and freight services across the channel.  British Prime Minster David Cameron has announced that extra sniffer dogs and fencing are to be sent to Calais and land owned by the Ministry of Defence is to be used as a lorry park to ease congestion near the port of Dover in Kent. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
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Seven people suspected of being members of a people-smuggling ring that helped migrants enter the UK illegally from France have been arrested.

It is alleged the gang picked up migrants in Paris and took them to service stations where they were hidden in lorries bound for the UK without the drivers’ knowledge.

French police said people smugglers charged each migrant €3,000 ($3,566) for the passage, giving their network total revenues of €1.5m to €3m in one year.

Jean Arvieu, deputy chief of the police’s illegal immigration office, said the criminal ring was run by Iraqi Kurds who took over the network after gangland wars with rival groups.

Police officers, who investigated the traffickers for a year before the arrests, found that at the height of the business there were daily runs between Paris and Britain.

There was no evidence of any collusion between truck drivers and people smugglers, Mr Arvieu said.

Most people trafficked on the route were Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan, Syrian or Pakistani – nationalities who often target the UK as their final destination.

Young men between 20 and 35 and families made up the biggest contingent, he said.