The human smuggling operation employed agents mainly in Austria and Sweden, but also cooperated with Turkish, Greek and Serbian smugglers. The gang made what investigators say were significant profits by illegally bringing people into Finland, more than 150 in June through August of last year.
In addition to the main suspects, a number of other people were used by the smugglers in minor roles in the operation.
According to the preliminary investigation, the criminal group smuggled or tried to smuggle at least 24 Iraqi nationals into the country. Those arriving from Iraq have subsequently applied for asylum.
In these cases, the individuals entered the Schengen area by sea from Turkey to Greece. Most continued by car through Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary to Austria. From Austria almost all were then transported by air to Sweden and Denmark.
From Sweden, these individuals were either smuggled by road transport through Haparanda, Sweden across the border to Tornio, or aboard ferries from Stockholm to Turku and Helsinki. In some cases the smugglers also used direct flights from Austria to Helsinki.
Six people have been interrogated as suspects in the human smuggling operation and three of them, all residents of either Austria or Sweden have been remanded into custody. A hundred people were interviewed as witnesses.
The results of the investigation as regard the six suspects have been turned over to the prosecutor’s office of Western Finland.