German police discover 31 migrants hidden inside Turkish fruit truck

A customs officer stands in a truck in Breitenau, eastern Germany, after the discovery of illegal migrants.
A customs officer stands in a truck in Breitenau, eastern Germany, after the discovery of illegal migrants. Copyright Tino Plunert/dpa via AP
Copyright Tino Plunert/dpa via AP
By Associated Press
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The 31 migrants were taken to a federal police station after driving for hours on top of boxes of melons.

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German police and customs officers discovered 31 migrants hidden inside a refrigerated truck near the border with the Czech Republic.

The truck was stopped on Tuesday night on the A17 autobahn leading from the border to the eastern German city of Dresden, according to German news agency DPA. It had a Turkish number plate and was also carrying fruit.

The migrants were all male and aged between 18 and 47 years, public broadcast station MDR reported. They came from Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. The driver of the truck was a 57-year-old Turkish citizen who was detained by police.

The migrants, who were taken to a federal police station, said they had to lie on top of boxes filled with melons during the drive, according to MDR.

The search of the truck was part of a regular operation to crack down on cross-border crime, MDR reported.

Dozens of migrants inside trucks have died over the past few years while trying to enter the European Union. In 2015, 71 migrants died inside a truck in Austria, and in 2019, 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead inside a truck in Britain.

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