Five charged over Iraqi human smuggling ring

Three men and two women were formally charged on Monday for human smuggling on suspicions they helped transport 24 Iraqis into Sweden in return for large sums of money.

A 49-year-old man, his ex-wife and their son are the main suspects in the case at Attunda district court, while another man and woman are thought to have played a less prominent role.

According to prosecutor Marie Lind Thomsen, the suspects smuggled Iraqis into Sweden from the beginning of 2006 until June 2008.

They are alleged to have supplied the Iraqi citizens with legitimate passports, either lost by their rightful owners or stolen. In each case, the passports contained photos that resembled the Sweden-bound refugees in appearance.

The smugglers made large profits from the operation, with earning of at least 687,000 kronor ($82,000).

“One woman and her four children paid $25,000 US for their journey,” Lind Thomsen told news agency TT.

All of the Iraqi refugees were smuggled into the country via Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.

One of the suspects has admitted to involvement in the smuggling operation, while the four remaining suspects deny the charges.