The French prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday that 26 people had been arrested in France and Belgium in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in the back of a truck near London last October.
The dead, including two 15-year-old boys, were found on an industrial estate about 32 kilometres east of London last October.
The latest arrests were made on Wednesday after early-morning raids in France and Belgium as a result of a cross-border investigation supported by Eurojust, the EU’s agency for criminal justice cooperation, and Europol, the EU crime agency. Sky News reported.
The individuals are suspected to be members of a major migrant smuggling group, which transported mainly Asian refugees, particularly from Vietnam.
The suspects likely transported up to several dozen people every day for several months, Eurojust said in a statement.
In Belgium, 13 people were arrested after 16 house searches were carried out in Brussels, while a further 13 people were arrested in Paris, France.
Three vehicles were also seized, along with cash and electronic equipment.
FILE PHOTO: Police are seen at the scene where bodies were discovered in a lorry container, in Grays, Essex, Britain October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay