French police detain members of Afghan smuggling network, illegal migrants￼
Police in northern France announced on Tuesday that they stopped several illegal attempts to transport migrants to Britain by boat in the last 24 hours.
In addition, 48 people were rescued from distress in the English Channel, authorities said.
Overnight into Tuesday, officers stopped a car near Boulogne-sur-Mer after a pursuit and arrested two suspected people smugglers. Seven migrants were inside the vehicle.
Also, during the night, police officers prevented an attempted crossing near the beach at another location, confiscating an inflatable boat and its equipment.
Off the coast near Dunkirk, a French customs ship rescued 48 migrants in distress at sea late on Monday. Their boat had broken down and was drifting.
A week ago, French police arrested 15 suspected smugglers who were allegedly involved in the death of 27 migrants when their boat sank seven months ago.
The arrested people were said to belong to an Afghan smuggling network that collects around 3,000 euros (3,129 dollars) per person for the dangerous crossing.
From the beginning of the year through June 13,777 attempts to cross the strait in small boats were registered, according to the French Interior Ministry.
A total of 20,132 people were involved, an increase of 68 per cent compared to the same period in 2021.
Last year, 52,000 people tried to cross the English Channel, and 28,000 succeeded, according to the French ministry.
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