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    Police in St. Petersburg Bust Migrant Smuggling Route to Europe

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    Police in the northwestern Russian city of St. Petersburg have busted a gang smuggling migrants from the Middle East, including Syria, to Europe, the Federal Migration Service (FMS) said Wednesday.

    ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) FMS said six Russian companies were discovered to have been issuing invitations "not only [to] Syrian citizens but also [to] other nationals" for them to come to Russia. The agency said it was aware of dozens of migrants trafficked this way to Europe, although this number could be higher.

    "A criminal case over illegal immigration has been opened against companies that were inviting [migrants] without actually planning to keep in contact with them," an FMS spokesperson said.

    The migrant smuggling ring is believed to have been in operation for 2-3 years. Over that period, each firm helped obtain immigration papers for 300-400 foreigners, some of whom subsequently traveled to the European Union.

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    Tags:
    illegal immigration, migrants, FMS, Saint Petersburg, Russia
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