The Washington Post reports: The smugglers responsible for driving 71 migrants to their deaths in the back of a cramped, unventilated truck in Austria were part of a vast international syndicate that has been a subject of multiple criminal investigations, a leading European law enforcement official said Saturday.
Just four relatively low-level operatives have been arrested in connection with the deaths, which were discovered Thursday when authorities pried open the door to an abandoned truck emitting a noxious odor on the main highway between Budapest and Vienna.
But Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, said in an interview that his organization and national law enforcement agencies were “working urgently” to catch the ringleaders of an operation that epitomizes the rapid expansion and increasing sophistication of human smuggling networks across the continent.
“It was a direct hit in our systems,” said Wainwright, whose agency serves as the law enforcement arm of the 28-member European Union. “We were able to make intelligence connections with many other cases that we’re currently working on across Europe.” [Continue reading…]