The pair of Parisian taxi drivers may pay a heavy price — jail — for transporting the illegal Afghan immigrants halfway across Europe, according to court documents made available Tuesday.
Frenchman Bruno Dacher, 32, and Portuguese native Fredrico Silva da Conceicao, 48, have been charged with human trafficking and “risk between six months to six years in prison” said prosecutor Jörgen Larsson in the southwestern city of Malmö, where the two men will be tried.
Customs authorities arrested the pair on December 29, after they had crossed the bridge linking Copenhagen and Malmö with eight young Afghan clients.
The drivers told customs officials they were instructed to pick up the passengers at the Gare du Nord train station in Paris and take them to Malmö, the Skånska Dagbladet newspaper reported.
The drivers had charged their passengers €2,500 ($3,375) for the 1,300-kilometre trip.
“If the customer asks for it, I write a receipt up reaching the final destination,” Dacher said, according to the newspaper.
The Afghan passengers, who lacked passports or other forms of identification, admitted to Swedish customs officials that they had come to Europe illegally and used a middle-man to arrange their transit to Sweden.
Following their interrogation, the Afghans then requested asylum in Sweden.
According to Dacher, he was approached while standing outside the Paris train station about making a trip to Malmö, according to the Skånska Dagbladet newspaper.
After getting the green light from his taxi company, Dacher agreed, and settled on the €2,500 price tag, and asked his colleague to join him.
The pair denies any wrongdoing, Larsson said, adding, “they said it was a taxi run just like any other.”