Czech police break up international migrant smuggling ring

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Police in the Czech Republic have broken up an international network allegedly smuggling migrants from Turkey to Western Europe.

A total of 14 suspects — 13 foreigners whose nationalities were not disclosed and one Czech citizen — have been arrested in raids across the country in recent days, police said Tuesday. The suspects allegedly organized the transfer of at least 1,000 irregular migrants since 2021, earning at least one million euros ($1.1 million).

If convicted, the smugglers face up to 16 years in jail.

The migrants have been using the Czech Republic as a transit route on their way to the west of the continent, according to authorities, with most not seeking asylum in the country.

The Czech government lifted in February the controls it had renewed on the border with Slovakia in September in the face of a new wave of migration, mostly from Syria.

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