ROME – Police in Sicily say they have detained two suspected migrant smugglers, including one trying a new tactic of putting only few passengers aboard a small boat in a bid to land undetected on Italian shores.
Ragusa police said Saturday a Tunisian was detained for investigation of smuggling after 12 fellow Tunisians aboard a wooden boat told authorities he promised to sail them to an isolated beach near Trapani, western Sicily, at night so they could slip away undetected. Instead, police say the suspect bungled the route and eventually was spotted by an Italian naval vessel.
Usually, Libyan-based smugglers cram dozens or hundreds of migrants aboard boats, sometimes abandoning their passengers before rescuers arrive.
Also detained was a Gambian who is suspected of skippering a dinghy with 116 African migrants.