Belgian, UK police bust migrant smugglers; 12 arrested

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian police on Thursday arrested 10 people suspected of smuggling migrants into Britain during a major operation linked to a cross-border investigation into human trafficking.

Police officers carried out 12 house searches in the Liege area as part of their efforts to dismantle the trafficking network, Belgium’s federal public prosecutor’s office said.

The suspects were presented to an investigating judge who will decide whether they should be kept in detention.

Meanwhile, British immigration enforcement officers arrested two people during searches carried out simultaneously, the prosecutor’s office said.

Describing the network’s operations, the Belgian prosecutor’s office said migrants were housed in hotels before being transferred to the Netherlands. Once there, they were put on rental boats from the small port of Breeskens. In December, British authorities intercepted 14 people during one of the trips upon their arrival in Britain.

The federal prosecutor’s office said the investigations would continue in both countries.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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