At least 11 arrested in Istanbul over migrant smuggling

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Istanbul police have detained 32 people for allegedly smuggling migrants and laundering the money they made from them.

Units from the anti-migrant smuggling and border crossing department had been observing the operations of certain companies operating as tourism and travel agencies.

Following their two months of surveillance operations, the units raided a total of eight businesses, including exchange offices, jewelry shops and money transfer offices in May and June.

During the raids in Istanbul, 32 people were detained and some 8.8 million Turkish Liras (around $1million) were seized along with documents believed to be used in a scheme, called “hawala” for money laundering.

Eleven of those detained were arrested while another nine were released on bail. No action was taken against 12 suspects.

Security sources said that since the start of the year, the anti-migrant smuggling and border crossing department of the police force have conducted a total of 22 operations and 155 suspects were caught.

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution. The country hosts 4 million refugees, most of them, over 3.6 million, are from the war-torn Syria.

Hurriyet Daily News

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