Smugglers linked to deadly vessel sinking in western Greece identified


Police and port authority investigators have reportedly identified the members of a migrant trafficking ring linked to a vessel that sunk on January 11 off the island of Paxos in the Ionian Sea, which resulted in 12 deaths and 20 people reported missing. 

According to reliable sources, since the fatal sinking, police have arrested one Greek national and issued warrants for two Afghans and one Pakistani.

The suspects are accused of taking part in an operation to transfer the migrants from Athens to the coast of western Greece, where they boarded the vessel that was supposed to take them to Italy.  

Authorities are also investigating three Athens-based Iraqi nationals believed to be leaders of the gang who negotiated and received the fee to transfer the migrants from Greece to Italy.

Investigators said many of the migrants crossed the sea from the Turkish coast to the island of Kos before continuing their journey to Athens.