Kenyan police last month arrested a Dutch national wanted by Interpol for allegedly smuggling dozens of men, women and children to Europe.
John Habeta, 53, was allegedly involved in at least four different operations to smuggle groups of Eritrean nationals into Europe using routes from Asia.
The fugitive was arrested on December 16, in the outskirts of Nairobi after an Interpol Red Notice (international fugitive alert) was published earlier last month for people smuggling and use of fake identity documents to carry out transcontinental smuggling operations.
According to Interpol, the suspect was wanted by The Netherlands since 2017 and was taken into custody at Schiphol International airport in Amsterdam on Christmas Day after his arrest in Kenya.
“Acting on globally sourced INTERPOL intelligence leads, the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in The Hague alerted the Kenyan NCB to the fugitive’s presence in Nairobi on 10 December.,” Interpol said.
“An INTERPOL Red Notice – or international fugitive alert – was published the same day for people smuggling and use of fake identity documents to carry out transcontinental smuggling operations, triggering the suspect’s surveillance and arrest on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital.”
The Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) in The Hague alerted the Kenyan NCB to the fugitive’s presence in Nairobi on 10 December.
He remains in custody in The Netherlands until trial where, if convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison.
Interpol’s specialised unit on migrant smuggling and human trafficking identified Habeta as a high priority target in October 2020 when member countries alerted them to new leads about the fugitive’s global smuggling activities, which were immediately shared with the NCB in The Hague.
The organisation said that the subsequent issue of the Red Notice played a central role in the location and arrest of the fugitive.
People smuggling syndicates are run like businesses with high-profit margins and links to a wide range of serious and often violent crimes including illicit money flows, corruption, terrorism, trafficking in illicit goods and human trafficking.
They focus on profit margins, facilitating the passage of migrants with little or no regard for their safety and well-being.