Authorities believe that an Iraqi Kurd who operates a store in Athens is a major migrant trafficker engaged, mainly, in getting Turks to western Europe, either directly or via Greece.
The trafficker’s latest suspected operation, the departure of sailboat La Victoire from the Ionian island of Lefkada, was prevented by the coast guard on November 13.
The French-flagged sailboat was headed to Italy with 36 migrants, most of them from Turkey and Afghanistan. Its crew, three Ukrainians, were arrested, as was an Iranian citizen, who was monitoring the departure on the coast and whom authorities consider one of the ringleaders of the trafficking ring.
Authorities were alerted to the gang earlier this month, when another boat carrying migrants to Italy developed engine failure and its passengers had to be rescued. The migrants said they were to pay from 5,400 to 6,500 euros each.