Europe

Eritrean migrant smuggling suspect extradited to Italy

  • This photo taken from a video and released by the Italian Police shows Medhane Yehdego Mered, center,  a 35-year-old Eritrean, arrested two weeks ago in Sudan, upon his arrival at Ciampino's airport, in the outskirts of Rome, late Tuesday June 7, 2016.  Italy for the first time has taken custody of one of the alleged organizers of a people-smuggling route through Africa that has moved hundreds of millions of euros across borders and tens of thousands of migrants to Europe. (Italian Police via AP)

    This photo taken from a video and released by the Italian Police shows Medhane Yehdego Mered, center, a 35-year-old Eritrean, arrested two weeks ago in Sudan, upon his arrival at Ciampino's airport, in the outskirts of Rome, late Tuesday June 7, 2016. Italy for the first time has taken custody of one of the alleged organizers of a people-smuggling route through Africa that has moved hundreds of millions of euros across borders and tens of thousands of migrants to Europe. (Italian Police via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This photo taken from a video and released by the Italian Police shows Medhane Yehdego Mered, center,  a 35-year-old Eritrean, arrested two weeks ago in Sudan, upon his arrival at Ciampino's airport, in the outskirts of Rome, late Tuesday June 7, 2016.  Italy for the first time has taken custody of one of the alleged organizers of a people-smuggling route through Africa that has moved hundreds of millions of euros across borders and tens of thousands of migrants to Europe. (Italian Police via AP)

    This photo taken from a video and released by the Italian Police shows Medhane Yehdego Mered, center, a 35-year-old Eritrean, arrested two weeks ago in Sudan, upon his arrival at Ciampino's airport, in the outskirts of Rome, late Tuesday June 7, 2016. Italy for the first time has taken custody of one of the alleged organizers of a people-smuggling route through Africa that has moved hundreds of millions of euros across borders and tens of thousands of migrants to Europe. (Italian Police via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Italian police say Sudan has extradited a man suspected of being one of the masterminds of a migrant-smuggling network bringing people from sub-Saharan Africa via Libya to Europe.

The extradition is the first time that a suspected trafficking boss has been detained in Italy.

Police said Wednesday that Mered Yehdego Medhane arrived in Italy overnight, culminating an international investigation that identified him last year as a principal suspect.

Italian police said the 35-year-old Eritrean was believed to be "one of the principal migrant trafficking bosses."

Mered is suspected of organizing the trafficking of thousands of migrants to Italy dating from 2012. Police said tapped telephone conversations indicated that he paid Libyan officials on several occasions to prevent migrants in his network from being arrested.