VIDEO: Italy Police Arrest 5 Alleged Smugglers of Refugees

Thu Jun 9, 2016 19:35:17

Five alleged people smugglers have been detained in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, Italian police said on Thursday, after being picked up a day earlier with 223 migrants as they tried to reach Italy by sea.

Police were on Wednesday waiting at Pozzallo port as Italian Coastguard vessel Fiorillo arrived carrying migrants rescued from a fishing boat sailing in precarious conditions in the Mediterranean.

The five men - identified as Egyptians Mohamad Darwiche, 49, Hasin Mohmud Hasen, 55, Mahmed Saied, 44, Abdul Khader, 18 and Mohamad Gahani, 18 - were taken into custody in Ragusa, Sicily, according to police officials.

The migrants said the captain, once he had called for help, turned off the boat's engine and sat down among them, pretending to be just another passenger, while ordering the other members of the crew to do the same.

The migrants paid an average of 2,500 US dollars each for the journey to Italy, police said.

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