slovenia austria migrants.jpg
Photograph: EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNA

Twenty-six people have been arrested by Interpol for their alleged participation in criminal networks that smuggle migrants, the international police organization said Thursday.

Among the people arrested were a 39-year-old Moroccan suspected of equipping three Syrians with Belgian identity cards for 12,000 euros (13,671 dollars) and a Serbian suspected of smuggling 25 migrants from Serbia to Hungary, Interpol said.

The route planner and accountant for an Albanian crime group smuggling migrants from France to England by boat for 14,000 euros each were also arrested, the organization said in a statement.

An Iranian man alleged to be part of an international smuggling gang was also arrested, Interpol said.

The organization called for the public's help tracking 11 people with links to smuggling, including a Romanian convicted of smuggling people across Hungarian and Austrian border points and a man who fled after a truck in which he was illegally transporting nine Afghans flipped and killed two migrants.

The arrests were part of an operation focused on 180 people. Aside from the 26 arrests, Interpol said it also had identified the location of 31 other suspects.

"The criminal networks involved have no regard for the safety or well-being of the people using their illegal services, they are just another commodity for them to trade, as we have seen with tragic results around the world," Interpol's Michael O'Connell said in the statement.

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