29 Aug 2013

Five people smuggling ssuspects arrested

12:49 pm on 29 August 2013

Federal police in Australia have arrested five suspected people smugglers.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Steve Lancaster made the announcement on Thursday after a series of raids in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.

He said four of the five people - three Afghans, one Iranian and one Pakistani - came to Australia on boats themselves.

AAP reports Mr Lancaster said they belonged to syndicates that were collectively responsible for 132 boats reaching Australia. All states and territories except Tasmania were involved.

Mr Lancaster said AFP has about 20 people-smuggling investigations underway.

"Those who have not been picked up in the first scoop today, that does not mean you should sleep well tonight," he said in Canberra.

The ABC reports the five men are scheduled to appear before the court later in the day after being charged with people smuggling offences. They face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Mr Lancaster said the total number of suspected people smugglers charged in Australia since 2009 to 26.