Gang trafficked foreigners via ‘El. Venizelos’ to EU – Five arrested

A criminal organization trafficking foreigners via Athens International Airport “El. Venizelos” to European Union countries has been dismantled by the Sub-Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Human Trafficking.

During the operation that took place on Monday, July 8, five foreign members of the gang (aged 31, 36, 38, 39 and 60) were arrested and a case was filed against them for forming and joining a criminal organization, forgery, possession of third-party documents and violation of the Immigration Code.

The case includes five other foreigners who supported the action of the criminal organization, while during the operation a 33-year-old foreigner, wanted under a European arrest warrant, was identified and arrested by the German authorities as a trafficker of illegal immigrants.

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According to ELAS, the 39-year-old leader of the organization created a legal company that sold food products and then rented a space that was to serve as the company’s headquarters. However, he transformed this space into a workshop for training and forgery of documents, equipping it with the necessary raw materials, after having previously obtained a large quantity of authentic travel documents from third parties from different countries, which they use mainly as stolen or lost documents.

The spiral was looking for foreigners who wanted to leave the country illegally, by air, to European countries. The leader had entrusted this responsibility to a 60-year-old member, who had developed a particular social profile, maintaining a wide circle of contacts and connections in places frequented by foreigners who wanted to leave the country.

Regarding the transactions of foreign money in transit with the network, the criminal organization offered clients the attractive “payment channel”, without leaving any traces, both for their protection and to guarantee the release of the amount they paid, once they had completed their passage to the country of their choice.

The sums of money paid ranged from 3,000 to 15,000 euros.

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The prevention of five cases of trafficking of foreigners by the criminal network, by the police officers of the Athens Airport Police Department, played an important role in revealing their modus operandi.

Following searches carried out at their home-laboratory and at their homes, the following items were seized:

– A number of passports, identity cards, residence permits and third-party permits from different countries,

– Equipment suitable for establishing and falsifying documents,

– The sums of 5,595 euros, 1,773 dollars, 80 pounds sterling and 300 Moldovan lei,

– Many bank cards,

– A number of notes and documents relating to monetary transactions, as well as notebooks containing relevant data; and

– The organization’s “company” car.

The arrested persons were taken to the Athens prosecutor’s office and presented before an investigator.

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