Italian and German authorities have arrested a suspected human trafficker from Eritrea who had been on the run for months, police in the Sicilian city of Palermo announced on Saturday.
The man, who had been on the run since April under an international arrest warrant, was arrested in Germany and deported to Italy by plane from Frankfurt.
The arrested man is accused of being the leading member of a gang of traffickers who organized illegal crossings of the Mediterranean for thousands of migrants in exchange for large sums of money.
He is believed to have been living in Germany since last spring and is thought to have applied for asylum in the northern German city of Goettingen.
The gang included traffickers from several African countries, among them Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Ghana, the police said.
The criminals are believed to be responsible for a serious accident that occurred off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa on October 3, 2013, when 366 people died when their boat caught fire and later capsized.
Most of the victims came from Eritrea and Somalia.
German Police Arrested Human-Trafficker from Eritrea
By Drucken | for Spiegel Online,
German investigators have arrested an alleged tug from Eritrea. The man should belong to a smuggling ring, which is responsible, among other things, a boat accident with 366 deaths.
Since Yonas Redae disappeared in April 2015 from the scene, Italian investigators were the alleged tug on his heels. An international arrest warrant was issued – now succeeded the German authorities to join the Eritreans on the track.
He was arrested and extradited on Friday from Frankfurt with an airliner to Italy. The investigators from the Sicilian Palermo applies Yonas R. as one of the central figures of an internationally operating criminal organization that controls the trafficking of refugees from Libya.
The suspect is alleged to have organized against a lot of money the illegal crossing of thousands of refugees across the Mediterranean. He should have stayed since last spring in Germany and applied for asylum in Göttingen.
To the ring belonged tug of several African countries, including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Ghana, it said. Among other things, the organization should be responsible for a serious accident off the coast of Lampedusa. On October 3, 2013 366 people died when their boat came off the Italian island of fire and then capsized. Most of the victims are said to have originated in Eritrea and Somalia.