THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) – A car involved in suspected migrant trafficking has crashed in northern Greece leaving the driver dead and all nine passengers injured, police said Friday.
Police said the driver in Thursday evening’s crash was believed to be from Pakistan and was suspected of working for a smuggling ring. One of the injured passengers is also believed to be a suspected smuggler from Pakistan, while the other eight are Afghans, police said.
Police said the car failed to stop at a police traffic checkpoint near the northern city of Kavala, and sped away. It later came off the road due to excessive speed.
All nine injured people have been hospitalized, authorities said.
Thousands of migrants and refugees attempt to enter Greece from neighboring Turkey each year. The vast majority cross to Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast, but some also make their way across the land border in the northeastern Thrace region and head to the Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki.
According to official figures, authorities in Thrace detained 804 migrants and 49 smugglers in September this year, a drop compared to the same month in 2019, when 1,446 migrants and 56 smugglers had been detained.