Alleged people-smuggling 'kingpin' Mered Medhanie extradited to Italy
June 8, Rome: An Eritrean man believed to be at the heart of the operation to smuggle migrants from Africa to Europe has been extradited to Italy, local media reports said.
Mered Medhanie, known as The General, was held in Sudan in May and was flown to Rome on Tuesday.
Italian news agency Ansa said Medhanie was accused of being "the leader and organiser of one of the largest criminal groups operating between central Africa and Libya".
Britain's National Crime Agency said that he was thought to have arranged the transit of a boat that sank near the Italian island of Lampedusa in October 2013.
At least 359 migrants died when the boat, travelling from Libya, capsized. Most were from Eritrea and Somalia.
Prosecutors accuse Medhanie of running the network alongside an Ethiopian accomplice, who is still at large.
The two men are accused of buying up kidnapped migrants from other gangs and sending those migrants on barely seaworthy ships across the Mediterranean towards Europe, BBC reported.
The Oslo Times