(VitalNews.org) – According to the Khaleej Times, members of the international law enforcement community were conducting an official operation over the last nine months that bore fruit when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) assisted Interpol in arresting two outlaws wanted for human trafficking and money laundering. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Lieutentant-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan shared that the successful operation resulted from a collaboration between Interpol and the UAE.
An Eritrean national described as one of "the world's most wanted" human traffickers has been arrested after an international manhunt, Interpol announced on Thursday. https://t.co/Gh7tILtGFI
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 6, 2023
The Ministry of Interior released a statement announcing the arrest of Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam in Sudan for migrant smuggling, human trafficking, and other crimes related to those offenses. Authorities also took his brother, Henok Zakarias, into custody. Habtemariam has reportedly trafficked victims since 2014, and the statement said his arrest would put a huge stumbling block in a major trafficking route from East Africa to Europe.
Through extensive international cooperation, officers explored analytical gaps, closing in on one of the world's most wanted smugglers.
— INTERPOL (@INTERPOL_HQ) January 5, 2023
CBS News revealed that authorities tracked money laundering patterns, leading them to Habtemariam’s base in Sudan. From there, he organized massive migrant camps in Libya. Authorities tracking the flow of money and smuggling of people led to his downfall.
Multiple countries previously reported warning notices through Interpol, accusing Habtemariam of keeping migrants in a Libyan camp. In fact, an Ethiopian court convicted him in absentia in 2020 and sentenced him to life behind bars for smuggling people, but he escaped custody.
The outlet also noted that Interpol released a statement from the director of the UAE’s Federal Anti-Narcotics General Directorate following the arrests. Saeed Abdullah al-Suwaidi praised the police officers involved in the operation for their “professionalism” in taking down the “world’s most wanted human trafficker.”
Interpol reported Habtemariam used “violent treatment” on the people he smuggled. Police in Sudan didn’t respond to CBS for comment, and it’s unclear what other charges the criminal might face, but the international organization did mention East African nations want him for several crimes.
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