Dislocated criminal organization that operated in illegal immigration from third countries to Hellas and later in European countries, as well as in the preparation of fakes and the falsification of travel documents, by the Public Security Department of the Athens Security Sub-Directorate of the Attica Security Directorate.

In the context of an extensive operation carried out in Attica, Thessaloniki and Ilia, a total of 41 members of the organization were arrested, accused of the -as the case may be- offenses of criminal organization, forgery and forgery of certificates by profession, as an accomplice and as a follow-up, violation of the laws on of foreigners, on weapons and drugs, on the prevention and suppression of money laundering from criminal activities, on the National Customs Code, as well as on the offenses of obtaining a false certificate, false certificate and forgery, extortion and extortion.

In addition, 55 more people are included in the case file.

How did they act?

As it emerged from the investigation, at least from the middle of 2022, the formation of the criminal organization was established, which had a continuous and structured action, a hierarchical structure and distinct roles, with the aim of obtaining an illegal financial benefit, which varied according to the method of trafficking from 600 to 10,000 euros per person.

For this purpose, they were also active in drawing up fake travel documents, with which they supplied the traveling foreigners.

The hierarchy

To maximize their effectiveness, each member had taken on a corresponding role, specifically:

  • the leader of the criminal group gave the orders under which the other members operated,
  • the deputy leader accepted the instructions that he directly passed on to the other members, while he also had the role of “guarantor – funds” of the organization,
  • 25 members (forgers) had the role of drawing up fake documents, covidtest, boardingpass etc.,
  • 28 members (transporters and escorts) had the role of giving instructions and transporting the trafficked foreigners,
  • 7 members – housing lessors,
  • 3 members had the role of finding interested foreigners,
  • 15 members (guarantors – treasurers) had the role of keeping and managing the sums of money they received from the trafficked foreigners or from other members of the organization, being shop owners or employees and
  • 15 regional members, who were assigned various tasks, depending on the requirements of the other members.

In terms of their modus operandi, the members of the criminal organization:

  • offered those interested a multitude of options both in terms of transportation and destination in a European country,
  • they were moving the money through the “HAWALA” system.
  • they also used the LOOK – ALIKE method, i.e. use of travel documents that the photo they carried resembled the characteristics of the traffickers and
  • they provided accommodation to the trafficked aliens for monetary fees paid on a daily or monthly basis amounting to around 150 euros per person. In order to attract more “customers”, the accommodations in question were advertised in groups – pages on a social network.
  • At the same time, they took special counter-surveillance measures using telephone devices, registered in the names of non-existent foreigners (straw men) while speaking in a coded manner so as not to be perceived by the prosecuting authorities.

The code names

Characteristic words and phrases used were Nafarat/ Tomatoes / Falafel which meant Client – ​​foreigner interested in speeding up the issuance of travel documents, Master = Forger, Book / Notebook = Passport, Class A’ = Good quality fake document and Class B’ = Bad quality fake document.

The ways of handling

After identifying the “prospective customers”, they used different means of transportation, namely by plane or by foot or by using a vehicle.

The first method was through air flights to countries – cities of their destination, booking 2 air tickets, one for a country of their choice in Europe and the other ticket to a city or island in Greece.

At the same time, they were provided with similar passports (look-alike method), while the foreigners being trafficked received instructions from the members of the organization in order to avoid detection during passport control. The monetary remuneration in this case started from 4,000 euros.

In addition, in the case of transporting foreigners from countries in Asia and Africa with an intermediate station in Greece, the trafficker paid the required amount of money to a guarantor shop of the members of the organization in any country.

The monetary reward for such illegal transportation ranged from 4,000 to 10,000 euros, while the usual destinations were Serbia, Montenegro, Portugal, the Netherlands, Croatia, France, Austria, Bosnia, Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Hungary and Bulgaria.

The second way used by the members of the organization was to traffic migrants on foot or by vehicle through Turkey to Greek territory.

Initially, after organizing them in groups, they would cross the border from Turkey to the Evros area on foot and enter Greek territory. They were then put on trucks/buses and transported to Thessaloniki or Athens, where they stayed for a short time in “hospitality” apartments of the organization’s members.

During the period of their stay, either they were prepared with a fake legalization document in order to stay in Greece or the process of their illegal transfer to EU countries began.

In more detail, for foreigners who wished to be transported illegally to European countries, the following procedure was followed:

Initially, they were gathered either in Athens, or in the area of ​​the prefecture of Ilia, and then they boarded vehicles, which were moving towards the borders of Greece and Albania in particular. From there, the carriers – escorts drove the foreigners on foot or by vehicle to Albania and then to Bosnia or Serbia.

The organization’s members provided guidelines for the success of the move both in terms of money to buy food and various items they would need to have in their possession, as well as avoiding detection by police or border controls.

The amount of money to complete the illegal transport ranged from 1,250 to 4,000 euros.

As regards the accommodation of the trafficked foreigners, the members of the criminal organization had rented premises and apartments, in which they were placed for a short period of time until their departure to European countries, demanding the payment of the sum of 100 euros per month.

In investigations carried out in the center of Athens, 12 apartments – spaces that functioned as “cabinets – hotels” were identified, in which more than 80 illegal aliens were identified, who were arrested and the measure of administrative deportation was applied against them.

Also, the “hawala” network of the organization was fully identified, consisting of -21- shops in Athens and Thessaloniki, and 5 fully equipped laboratories for the preparation of forged documents were located in the center of Athens.

Furthermore, from the entire preliminary investigation it emerged that the “leader” members had established an informal regime of intimidation both among the other members and their associates, demanding their loyalty and preventing them from working with others, as well as the foreign clients.

The research shows that the members of the organization are involved in:

  • 2,322 illegal transfers of foreigners – immigrants, for at least a monetary fee of 4,000 euros,
  • more than 8,000 preparation of fake travel documents, for at least the monetary fee of 500 euros,
  • at least 550 accommodation allocations to departing foreigners.

What did the investigations find?

In a total of 102 searches carried out in houses and shops, in Attiki, Thessaloniki and Ilia, the following were found and confiscated:

  • more than 100 mobile phones,
  • more than 250 electronic devices (H/Y, TABLET, USBSTICKS, hard disks, printers, etc.),
  • 1,050 passports and identity cards of foreign countries,
  • 72,000 euros,
  • more than 36,000 digital files of travel identification documents (passports, identity cards, watermarks of passports – identity cards, etc.), which are used as matrices for forged travel documents,
  • more than 500 confiscated foreign and Greek travel identification documents (passports, identity cards, residence permits, driving licenses, asylum application cards of foreigners, etc.), which are obviously of dubious authenticity,
  • more than 600 sections – matrices of documents, i.e.: covers and bodies of passports, residence permits, identity cards, other identification documents, etc.,
  • a number of drug distribution packages,
  • 4 Precision Scales,
  • 481.4 grams of cannabis,
  • 38 grams of crystal meth,
  • 8 knives,
  • 3 swords,
  • glop,
  • 2 air guns,
  • 21 cartridges of various calibers,
  • 2 carbines,
  • 2 pistols,
  • revolver,
  • 5 motorcycles,
  • 2 I.X.E. cars,
  • lots of handwritten notes,
  • number of airline tickets,
  • 189 forged seals of various Services, Greek authorities, consular authorities, Service employees,
  • A large number of telephone connections of various companies (SIM cards – GHOSTNUMBER),
  • more than 2,500 documents & money transfer receipts.

The turnover

It is noted that, the total illegal economic benefit of the members of the organization exceeds 9,000,000 euros.

The arrested persons, who have previously engaged the prosecuting authorities, for the same or other offences, were brought with the case against them, in the afternoon hours today, to the competent prosecutor’s office.