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Migrants being smuggled into Europe on private aircraft, say police

Migrants have been paying up to €20,000 to be smuggled into Europe on private aircraft, say police.

They were given fake diplomatic passports and put on flights in Turkey that were supposedly heading to the Caribbean.

But the planes stopped over in Europe, where the migrants would declare their real identity and claim asylum. 

Investigators have documented five separate landings in Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Belgium between October and December 2020, revealed Europol.

Five suspects — three in Rome and two in Brussels — have now been arrested and the criminal network dismantled. 

Two further suspects remain on the run.

In addition to the arrests, two aircraft have been seized worth €426,000, as well as a high-end car and equipment to forge identifications.

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