8 people arrested in Greece for printing fake travel documents

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The Greek police, supported by Europol, dismantled a criminal network involved in the production and distribution of false documents.

In one of its most recent press releases, Europol revealed that this particular investigation was opened in March 2021 and found that the gang had established a printing house in Athens for the falsification of different travel documents.

During the June 1-2 day of action, authorities arrested eight suspects who supplied migrant smugglers and facilitated illegal entries from Egypt into the EU, and seized 362 false documents.

Among those arrested, three were nationals of Sudan, one was a national of Eritrea, another was a national of Iraq, two others were nationals of Côte d’Ivoire and another was from Nigeria , SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

As for the documents seized, Europol revealed that it seized a total of 153 passports, 156 identity cards, 42 residence permits and 11 asylum documents. In addition, the police seized 118 passport covers, printers, electronic equipment and €3,995 in cash.

“The investigation, opened in March 2021, targeted a criminal network involved in document fraud and migrant smuggling and identified 14 suspected members of the group, mostly nationals of African countries. The members of this very well organized criminal group had clearly defined roles and tasks: counterfeiters, smugglers, intermediaries or accomplices,” read Europol’s statement.

It was explained that this group supplied the black market with different types of documents which were then used for migrant smuggling services. The criminal group sold fake documents to other criminal networks and used these documents themselves to smuggle migrants from Egypt to Greece and other European Union destinations.

The investigation by the Hellenic Police and Europol identified two smuggling routes. One of the routes was from Egypt to Greece using fake Schengen visas on African passports. On the other hand, the other route was from Egypt via the Western Balkan countries to the EU.

So far, investigators have identified a total of 195 criminal cases, more than 565 forged documents, as well as 66 migrants trafficked with the use of illegal supplies from this network.

During this investigation, Europol facilitated the exchange of information and provided analytical support. On the day of the action, Europol sent an expert to Greece to cross-check the information with Europol’s databases in real time and provide leads to investigators on the ground.

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