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Top Migrant Smuggler Extradited to Italy

  • VOA News

This handout picture released by the Italian police (Polizia di Stato), on June 8, 2016 shows Medhanie Yehdego Mered, 35, an Eritrean suspected of controlling a migrant trafficking network, escorted by policemen upon his extradition from Sudan to Italy late on June 6, 2016.

This handout picture released by the Italian police (Polizia di Stato), on June 8, 2016 shows Medhanie Yehdego Mered, 35, an Eritrean suspected of controlling a migrant trafficking network, escorted by policemen upon his extradition from Sudan to Italy late on June 6, 2016.

Sudan has extradited a man suspected of being behind a migrant trafficking network to Italy, Italian police said Wednesday.

The Eritrean Medhanie Yehdego Mered, 35, was arrested in Khartoum at the end of May. He has been on a wanted list for over a year for international people smuggling.

"Mered is considered one of the biggest migrant traffickers operating on the Libyan-sub-Saharan route," Italian police said in a statement.

"He directed operations not only in Africa but also kept fellow operators in Italy up to date on the arrival of boats, to enable the migrants to continue to their final destinations [in Europe]."

Police have also said that tapped phone conversations indicate Mered was in contact with traffickers in Northern Europe. They also indicated that he showed "disregard for the lives of the migrants, appearing cynical and unscrupulous."

Sudanese forces worked with Italian and British intelligence to track down Mered.

He is the first suspected top smuggler to be arrested in Africa and detained in Italy which, like Greece, has been overwhelmed by an influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants since 2008.

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