THESSALONIKI, Greece – Greek police say they have arrested seven people, including an airline pilot and a ground crew staff member, on suspicion of participating in a ring smuggling migrants onto flights from Thessaloniki to other EU countries.
Giorgos Pantelakos, head of Thessaloniki's immigrant division, said the ring allegedly provided forged identity cards and passports and arranged to put migrants on flights to other EU countries, mainly Germany. The ring, believed to be active since October 2013, charged the mainly Syrian migrants an estimated 3,000-4,000 euros each.
Those arrested include a Greek travel agent in Thessaloniki and a Pakistani employee of an Athens travel agency, as well as a Cypriot man believed to be the ringleader, who is also wanted by Cyprus authorities on fraud and forgery charges. The pilot is also Cypriot.