Today about 900 agents and military police are raided at dozens of addresses in five countries, including the Netherlands. This exposed the largest networks of people smugglers in recent months. They are said to have illegally brought more than ten thousand refugees to England.
In the Netherlands alone, the police and the Marechaussee searched several buildings in Helmond, Tilburg and Dongen. A large quantity of life jackets was seized, some of which were stored in containers, as well as many other items believed to have been used to cross the canal. Seven people were also arrested.
German media reported that the gang had its base in the Osnabrück region. About 20 sheds and homes, mostly of Iraqi Kurdish smugglers, were searched. At least 18 suspects were arrested there. Police also took action in Belgium, France and Great Britain. It is said that many refugees crossed the canal through Calais.
The German city emerged as law enforcement after rival smuggling gangs fought a dispute that allegedly began in a refugee camp in France. A shot was fired there in September, followed by an attempted assassination of an Iraqi Kurd in Osnabrück in November, presumably in retaliation.
The procedure was coordinated by the European police forces Europol and Eurojust. They will hold a press conference on Wednesday in which more details about the entire operation will be announced.
Marechaussee has announced that in recent weeks it has increasingly encountered cars and trucks in which people are smuggled into Calais, for example. Vehicles with life jackets and inflatable boats are also taken off the road.
Last month, 134 suspects were arrested during a large-scale operation against people smuggling. Military police and agents moved from Austria, Germany, Hungary, Romania and Serbia. The Marechaussee then made several arrests in Drenthe.
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