Migrant smuggling 'mastermind' arrested in Liverpool


A man will appear in court today suspected of heading a huge people smuggling operation that earned nearly £7 million.

The National Crime Agency said Palestinian national Jamal Owda, 26, was one of 23 people arrested following dawn raids across Europe.

Owda, who was detained after "moving from country to country" is said to have been the alleged ringleader of the group responsible for smuggling thousands of migrants into Europe.

Around 100 Syrian migrants are believed to have been brought into western Europe from Greece each day since operations started in 2013.

Europol, which helped co-ordinate the raids, said that the gang was believed to have profited to the tune of nearly £7 million.

Other suspects were detained in simultaneous police operations in Greece, Austria and Sweden, and included mainly Syrians and Greeks.

Owda was arrested at an asylum seekers' shelter in Greenbank Drive, Sephton Park, Liverpool.

He will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court.