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Busted Cops bust human trafficking network involved in helping smuggle migrants into Ireland

Police arrested 17 suspects in a series of raids in France and Spain in February, targeting the mob, which is of Georgian origin

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Cops raid a property used by the gang

Cops raid a property used by the gang

Cops raid a property used by the gang

Authorities on the continent have dismantled a crime gang which was providing forged IDs and documents to traffickers involved in smuggling migrants to Ireland.

Police arrested 17 suspects in a series of raids in France and Spain in February, targeting the mob, which is of Georgian origin.

Europol said the criminal network was involved in procuring and distributing the forged documents, and operated on the dark web.

"The documents were used by other criminals involved in the smuggling of migrants to the US, the UK and Ireland and other criminal activities such as property crimes, trafficking in human beings and drug trafficking," said a Europol spokesperson.

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Fake documents, electronics and money was found

Fake documents, electronics and money was found

Fake documents, electronics and money was found

"The criminal network was directly involved in migrant smuggling activities and logistical arrangements in return for payments starting at €8,000 per person."

Gardaí have previously carried out operations targeting Georgian gangs in Ireland who were alleged to have been involved in the supply of false documents across Europe.

Police searched three houses in France and three houses in Spain where they arrested 17 suspects as and seized evidence.

"Seizures include electronic equipment (computers, smartphones and storage devices), counterfeit and genuine ID documents and photocopies of ID documents," the spokesperson said.

Europol said gang members operated in several countries, including France, Germany, Georgia, Italy, Lithuania, and Spain.

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"The criminal network largely distributed the counterfeit documents on the dark web, but also on instant messaging applications and postal services. They counterfeited mainly French, Romanian, Georgian, Lithuanian and Polish IDs.

"They also counterfeited residence permits, driver's licences, vehicle registration documents and travel documents. The suspects used messaging applications to communicate and to exchange pictures of documents, vehicles and money transfer slips," it was stated.

Three Georgian nationals living in Dublin pleaded guilty last year to involvement in a European wide human trafficking network after being targeted by Gardaí under Operation Mombasa.

Vakjtang Jokhadze (48) and his former wife Sophia Grdzelishvili (46) ran an operation from their home on St Jarlath's Road, in Cabra, providing false documents to others who then travelled to Ireland.

Jokhadze received a four-year sentence while Grdzelishvili was given a three-year suspended sentence. Another Georgian, Temuri Bazadz (25), with an address in East Wall, Dublin, was sentenced to three years after pleading guilty to human trafficking offences, money laundering, and possession of false instruments.

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