Rome, April 12 (IANS/AKI) Police in southern Italy on Wednesday said they arrested five people and smashed an alleged Pakistani-Afghan led cell that aided illegal immigrants by pretending to give them shelter.
Police in the port city of Brindisi said they made the arrests during raids on 15 properties and put 10 people under investigation in the operation.
Italian citizens connived with the suspects in the scam, in which irregular migrants paid the cell for false declarations they were being accommodated and used these to obtain and renew residency permits and family reunifications, according to police.
Wednesday's operation followed a probe by the Italian Police's organised crime unit in which investigators monitored the suspects and gathered evidence against them from CCTV footage and bugging devices.
The suspects face charges of abetting illegal immigration.