The National Crime Agency (NCA) has arrested an Egyptian man suspected of organizing the crossings of thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean.
The 40-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday in Hounslow, west of London. He is suspected of being linked to thousands of migrant crossings in the Mediterranean last year, between North Africa and Italy.
According to NCA, the suspect worked with smuggling networks in North Africa to organize the perilous crossings aboard makeshift boats on which hundreds of migrants were crammed.
“We suspect this man has been running his operation from the UK, and masterminding the smuggling of thousands of migrants.
“The boats used by criminal groups for crossings are death traps,” said Darren Barr, head of the NCA, in a statement.
“We will continue to share intelligence and take action with our partners to prevent crossings and arrest smugglers here and abroad,” he added.
The UK arrest comes after nine Egyptians were arrested in Greece this week in connection with the sinking of a migrant boat in the Mediterranean, which left at least 82 people dead and possibly hundreds more.