A criminal organisation is suspected of transporting a minimum of one hundred people from Turkey via Sweden to Finland, according to the Finnish Border Guard.
The main suspects in the ongoing pre-trial investigation are Finns and Swedes who have obtained large amounts of money by orchestrating the illegal entries into Finland. “Refugees mainly from Iraq have been directed illegally to Finland. Almost all of them have sought asylum in Finland. The investigation doesn’t concern them but the people who have orchestrated and charged for the entry,” Jukka Tekokoski, a senior lieutenant at the Border Guard, reveals to Helsingin Sanomat.
The suspects, he adds, are Iraqi nationals. “They’re relatively young men, and they’ve had the contacts needed to organise the trips,” he describes.
Tekokoski considers it possible that the network of people is larger than it is currently believed to be. The refugees have entered the country through Tornio, the ports of Helsinki and Turku, and through the Helsinki Airport. “The suspects charged each person roughly 10,000 euros for the trips they organised. The charge for transportation inside Europe was 2,000 euros,” Tekokoski tells.
Law-enforcement officers in Finland and Sweden conducted a total of 16 house searches on 29 September as part of the pre-trial investigation. Several of the 15 people taken into custody during the joint operation have been detained in the course of the investigation. Finland has requested that some of the suspects be extradited to Finland.
“The suspects are the 15 [people] we caught on the day of the raids. In addition, we’re looking into the involvement of a couple of others,” reveals Tekokoski.
The suspicions arose roughly six months ago, according to him. “It all started from routine work as we started looking into a single case at the Port of Helsinki as organising [illegal] entry,” Tekokoski tells.
Ilta-Sanomat was the first news outlet to report on the matter.