Italian police said on Saturday they had arrested a man wanted by Britain in connection with migrant smuggling that resulted in the deaths of 39 Vietnamese in the trailer of a truck.
Stefan Damian Dragos, a 28-year-old Romanian citizen, is accused of supplying the truck that transported the migrants to England, according to a police statement.
Mr Dragos, who was arrested by police in Milan on the basis of a British arrest warrant, “belongs to a criminal organization dedicated to illegal immigration”, adds the press release.
The 39 Vietnamese migrants – the youngest of whom were two 15-year-old boys – had died of asphyxiation and hyperthermia in the confined space of the container, as they were transported to what they hoped would be new life in Britain.
Their lifeless bodies were discovered inside the trailer in east London in October 2019.
The appalling discovery had thrown a harsh light on illegal immigration networks that thrive on the hope of candidates for exile ready to take all the risks and pay huge sums of money.
The leaders of the group of smugglers, Ronan Hughes, a 41-year-old Northern Irish haulier, and Gheorghe Nica, a 43-year-old Romanian national, accused of being the organizers of trafficking, was sentenced in January to 20 and 27 years respectively in prison for manslaughter and smuggling of migrants.
Maurice Robinson, the driver who was driving the truck when the bodies were discovered, was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison. Eamon Harrisson, the 24-year-old driver who brought the trailer to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, claiming he was unaware of the migrants on board, was sentenced to 18 years in prison.