Greece: 91 Cubans Arrested at Airport as Police Suspect Migrant Smuggling Network

Athens Greece September 12, 2019 View of a Greek police car driving through the streets of Athens in the evening
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Officers arrested 91 Cuban nationals at a Greek airport, with police suspecting an international migrant smuggling ring may be involved in their arrival in the country.

All 91 Cubans who were arrested at the Zakynthos airport on Thursday are part of a larger group of 210 people who are believed to have flown from Cuba to Moscow and then to Serbia, where they crossed the border into Greece in order to fly to their destination of Italy, where they planned to claim asylum.

The 210 Cubans are said to have stayed in a hotel in the village of Laganas near the airport. Ninety-one attempted to use airliner RyanAir to fly to Milan before they were caught by Greek officials who noticed that none of the travellers had visas, Proto Thema reports.

The rest of the 210 travellers were taken by bus to a hotel.

The Cubans are believed to have chosen to leave from Zakynthos airport as the security is not as strict as other Greek airports and the paper notes that police suspect an international smuggling ring may be involved in the case.

Cuban illegal migrants are relatively rare in Europe, but since the anti-government protests in Cuba this year, countries like the United States have seen groups of Cubans attempting to claim asylum, as was the case just weeks ago in Texas when a group of 100 illegals from Cuba and Venezuela crossed into the U.S.

In Greece, the government has recently strengthened its border wall on the border with Turkey, as some expect a possible new migrant surge of Afghan nationals following the country’s fall to Taliban forces earlier this year.

The government announced that it would add 250 officers to the 1,500 member border force in the coming months as well as add 800 more border personnel at airports and areas near Greece’s border with Turkey.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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