A Greek human smuggler was captured by the Turkish Coast Guard yesterday as he tried to smuggle 20 Iranian illegal migrants to the Greek island of Lesbos from Turkey.
The suspect, identified as 41-year-old Nikolaos Vougkas, was in Gülpınar, a coastal village in Ayvacık in northwestern Turkey to smuggle the migrants when the Coast Guard intercepted his speedboat. The smuggler was referred to the local court, while the migrants were taken to a center for illegal migrants. Authorities said Vougkas arrived from Lesbos in his speedboat to pick up the migrants.
The country has become a hub for illegal migrants seeking to cross into Europe. The Greek islands near Turkey's Aegean shores are a favorite destination of migrants heading to Europe. However, journeys aboard unsafe, overcrowded boats often steered by inexperienced migrants often turn deadly. The country boosted patrols at land and sea but still struggles to stop the influx of migrants. Human smugglers play a key role in aggravating the number of gullible migrants. It is believed that smugglers were behind a string of rumors that triggered a new flow of migrants in eastern and western Turkey earlier this year and in late 2018.