Italy has broken up a criminal ring that smuggled migrants from Tunisia to Sicily on speedboats less than a year after a similar racket was dismantled, magistrates said on Tuesday.
Prosecutors in Palermo issued arrest warrants for 13 people — seven Tunisians, five Moroccans and an Italian woman — suspected of people smuggling and trafficking in contraband cigarettes, according to a copy of the document seen by Reuters.
Phone intercepts showed migrants paid between 3,000-5,000 euros ($3,700- $6,160) for the high-speed trip that brought them surreptitiously to Italy in just a few hours, allowing them to avoid being taken to refugee centers and finger-printed.
“We cannot rule out that dangerous people might have taken advantage of this system, although we do not have any precise information about this,” said Palermo’s head prosecutor, Francesco Lo Voi.
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