The main suspect could be apprehended last Monday in the Ghent area, a 29-year-old from Albania. On Tuesday, a large-scale police action was set up in cooperation with the British police. 12 suspects were arrested in Belgium during 8 house searches, while in England two suspects were taken in for questioning. A last suspect was arrested in Germany. The three will be extradited to Belgium.
The Albanian gang is facing charges of large-scale people smuggling. "They transported people from Albania to the Ghent region", explains Patrick Willockx of the East-Flemish department of the Federal Police.
However, the special thing about this gang was that they offered so-called "guaranteed transports": this was only possible with the cooperation of car or truck drivers. "They had a hidden space inside their vehicle to take the people across the channel", explains Willockx. Prices for immigrants were very high: around 15,000 euros per person, it can be heard.
A Ghent hotel allegedly served as 'waiting place' before the transport could take place. During a house search, no fewer than 37 Albanian people were found.