British police say seven people arrested in Belgium in connection with people smuggling investigation

British police investigating a human smuggling ring suspected of bringing large numbers of Turkish illegal immigrants into London said Thursday another seven men were arrested in Belgium.

Police said the men, who were apprehended by Belgium authorities, were arrested for allegedly conspiring to smuggle people into Britain.

On Tuesday, police arrested 19 people in a series of dawn raids at houses and businesses in London and in the eastern English town of Boston.

Of those arrested in Tuesday's raids, six men where charged Thursday with conspiracy to facilitate illegal entry into Britain and money laundering. A seventh man was charged only with facilitating illegal entry.

The arrests follow a two-year police investigation into the "large-scale" smuggling of illegal immigrants, mostly from Turkey, into London via mainland Europe, police said in a statement.

Police said the illegal immigrants were believed to have been smuggled into Britain through ports in Holland, Italy, France and Belgium.

A police spokeswoman refused to say how many people were smuggled into Britain by the criminal ring. Britain's Press Association has reported that sources said the figure could be in the low tens of thousands, AP reported. V.A.

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