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Italy to Switzerland People-smugglers caught driving migrants across border

Increased enforcement by the Swiss authorities led to a growth in migrant population in Como

(Keystone)

Four Ghanaian nationals smuggling migrants from Italy to Switzerland for a fee have been apprehended. They are accused of having illegally transported around 200 migrants across the border by car. 

The four suspects – aged between 21 and 39 years and legal residents of Italy – drove the migrants from Como in Italy to either Lugano in the Swiss canton of Ticino, or Zurich. In return for their services, they charged migrants a fee ranging from €90 to 150 (CHF96 to 160). 

The investigation into the people-smuggling ring began in October when the border authorities noticed that a vehicle had passed through the border post at Ronago – to the west of Como – 45 times in the space of a single month. One of the members of the Ghanaian group was arrested in December 2016, and three other members were arrested on February 17. 

In an unrelated case, 14 members of a criminal organisation were brought before a court in Kreuzlingen in canton Thurgau on Monday for people-smuggling, drug-running, extortion and murder. The gang is headed by an Iraqi national provisionally admitted into Switzerland as a refugee, and the rest are Turkish Kurds. The group is accused of smuggling at least 300 migrants into Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The migrants – mostly of Iraqi origin – were charged CHF3,000 ($2,987) each for their services.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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