Snapshot: Majority of Migrants On Austrian Deportation Flight Convicted Drug Dealers

A policewoman patrols over a Christmas market in Salzburg on December 20, 2016, as security measures are taken after a deadly rampage by a lorry driver at a Berlin Christmas market. / AFP / APA / BARBARA GINDL / Austria OUT (Photo credit should read BARBARA GINDL/AFP/Getty Images)

Austria deported 21 African failed asylum seekers late last week to Nigeria and Gambia with the Interior Ministry revealing that the vast majority of the deportees had been drug dealers.

The deportation of the 21 failed asylum seekers marks the seventh flight this year to take back Nigerian and Gambian migrants from Austria under the authority of the Interior Ministry, which has been headed by populist anti-mass migration Freedom Party (FPÖ) Interior Minister Herbert Kickl since December, Kronen Zeitung reports.

The 19 Africans had all been convicted for drug offences, with several of them additionally being convicted of violent crimes as well.

Since April 1st, Austria has chartered 23 different flights to a total of twelve different countries including both Nigeria, Gambia and Azerbaijan earlier this month.

Around 45 percent of the 247 failed asylum seekers deported since April have been convicted of crimes, according to the Interior Ministry.

“We are doing everything we can to take criminal migrants out of the country as soon as possible,” Interior Minister Kickl commented.

According to the Austrian Federal Immigration and Asylum Service (BFA), Nigerians accounted for one of the top five countries for asylum applications in 2017 but also had one of the highest rejection rates.

Nigerian drug dealers have been problematic in the past in Austria, particularly in the capital of Vienna. In 2016, Vienna police claimed that drug crime had increased by ten percent due to the inflow of Nigerian migrants, who made up as much as 80 percent of the criminal suspects in cases under the Narcotic Substances Act.

In neighbouring Italy, Nigerian criminal gangs have an even larger presence with towns like the former resort area of Castel Volturno north of Naples being impacted by Nigerians pushing drugs and pimping prostitutes.

Nigerian criminals have also been linked to horrific violence, including the murder and dismemberment of Italian teen Pamela Mastropietro who was lured away from a drug rehab clinic, killed, chopped up into pieces and left in suitcases by the side of the road earlier this year. It is alleged the teen was killed by a Nigerian drug dealer.

Prominent Italian criminologist Alessandro Meluzzi described the Nigerian mafia as taking over Italy and spoke of their brutal methods following Mastropietro’s death saying, “In the Nigerian mafia, ritual cannibalism, is not an exception, but a rule. These are normal things for them, but here nobody talks about it, out of fear of being called racist.”

“We should get used to these things: this is just the tip of an iceberg destined to grow larger,” he said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.