Austrian Officials Investigating Alleged Immigrant Smuggling Ring at Vienna Airport
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Multiple security employees at Austria's Vienna International Aiport have been arrested for allegedly assisting in the smuggling of illegal immigrants into the U.S. and Britain, according to Austrian officials via AFP.
Public prosecutor Friedrich Koehl told AFP that six employees were arrested, but that four of them having since been released from custody.
However more than a dozen people tied to the smuggling ring are currently being investigated.
The suspects, who are described as primarily Austrian and Sri Lankan nationals, worked for the various private security firms hired by Austrian Airlines, the country's flag carrier, and a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group.
Security firm G4S confirmed that one of its employees was involved in the illegal operation, noting that the suspect was fired immediately.
Koehl said that the suspects, who allegedly received between €7,000 (around $7,613) and €9,000 (around $9,788) per migrant, "were able to smuggle refugees from Sri Lanka past checkpoints and provide them with boarding passes," per the AFP.
While authorities continue their investigation, Austrian Airlines told AFP that it plans to review and address the case "internally" with the aforementioned security firms its hires.
Australian Airlines operates a plethora of international flights from Vienna, including service to Chicago, Newark, New York, London, and Washington, D.C.
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