“They have smuggled in a number of people, I won’t go into how many,” said Leif Fransson of the Border Police (Gränspolisen) to the TT news agency.
The case involves Iraqi citizens who travelled to Sweden using genuine Swedish passports bought from their original owners.
However, the Iraqis were no longer carrying the passports upon their arrival at airports in Sweden, and proceeded to seek asylum.
The arrested men used passports that had been issued to people who had come to Sweden earlier and become Swedish citizens.
The smugglers then gave the passports to other Iraqis who had looks similar to those of the original passport owners and then used the false passports to fly to Sweden.
The passports true owners have sold them to the people smugglers, usually for 10,000 kronor ($1,450).
The passport sellers then simply claimed they’d lost the documents before applying for new ones.
“We have examples of people who have ‘lost’ their passports once a month,” said Fransson.
Police had been keeping surveillance on the men for several months, but the smuggling has potentially been going on for years.
Police say that the offences were motivated by money, and not to help their fellow countrymen in need.
Both money and promissory notes were confiscated from their homes and the men’s families had been living on benefits, according to police.