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Five held in Australia’s largest anti-smuggling raids

Five held in Australia’s largest anti-smuggling raids

SYDNEY: Five men from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been arrested and accused of facilitating the passage of up to 132 asylum-seekers boats in Australia’s largest-ever people-smuggling sting, police said.

The men – an Iranian, 21, a Pakistani national, 46, and three Afghans aged 40, 34 and 33 – were detained in a major nationwide operation bringing together 12 months of work and seven separate probes into 132 voyages.

Four of the men, described by police as “key” syndicate members, came to Australia on smuggling boats themselves between May 2012 and July 2013. Three are in immigration detention, and stand accused of orchestrating activities from Indonesia prior to their arrival.