Police in the western coastal region of Aetolokarnania made 36 arrests in the early hours of Tuesday during an inspection on a travel bus carrying 31 people who failed to produce legal identification and travel documents. They also arrested five people believed to be smuggling them to the coast so they could board a ship to Italy.
Authorities said that they arrested two Greeks aged 49 and 38, a 36-year-old Albanian and two Iraqi nationals aged 41 and 38, who were aboard the bus as well as in two cars driving ahead of it, and are suspected of running a people-smuggling ring. They are also looking for two more suspects, a man and a woman, who are believed to be part of the gang.
The bus carrying the 31 undocumented migrants of different nationalities is believed to have set off from Athens for the western coast of Greece, where authorities believe the smugglers were planning to board the 31 migrants onto a boat destined for Italy.
All 31 migrants were also taken into custody for questioning. They told investigators that they had paid between 500 and 1,500 euros each to the smugglers to get them to Italy.