Greek police in the western region of Thesprotia have arrested two men accused of transporting illegal immigrants in a private ambulance.
The ambulance driver was arrested after police undertook a routine check of his vehicle and found two migrants in the back who could not produce any documents confirming whether they had arrived legally or had leave to remain in the country.
The check took place in the area of the coastal city of Igoumenitsa, according to a report from the Greek newspaper Proto Thema. The city lies just south of the Greek border with Albania and is also a busy port with several ferries to mainland Italy.
The ambulance is said to belong to a private company and was seized along with five mobile phones.
People Traffickers Abandoned 17 Victims to Their Fate After Damaging Smuggling Boat https://t.co/4S9thrAN70
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Local prosecutors have charged the Greek driver and his Greek co-driver with transporting illegal migrants. The migrants have been charged with illegal entry into the country. Investigators are also looking into the possibility that the ambulance and its drivers were part of a larger smuggling network.
The case comes just weeks after Greek coastguard officials operating in the Ionian Sea in western Greece rescued 17 illegal migrants adrift in a stolen boat after people traffickers had allegedly abandoned the migrants when the vessel had become damaged.
The migrants stated the traffickers were meant to help them illegally get to Italy but had abandoned them after collecting money from them.
The northern Greek area of Idomeni has also reportedly seen a new influx of migrants trying to reach western Europe by land, as well. A March report claimed that North Macedonian authorities had turned back 300 migrants trying to cross the border in a single day.
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