Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrive on the Greek shore. Many African immigrants have also braved the rough seas to Europe

Police in Italy has issued arrest warrants for fifteen South Africans wanted in connection with smuggling migrants, arms, human organs and drugs from Africa to Europe.

The move follows the busting of 38 suspected smugglers allegedly belonging to an international trafficking ring, one of the many criminal networks that last year reportedly made about $5 to $6 billion from trafficking thousands of migrants to Europe.

A Europol and Interpol report released in May said that smuggling people from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe is a multinational business, and the suspects, arrested in three Italian cities of Rome, Palermo and Milan, included 13 Eritreans, nine Ethiopians and one Italian.

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Italian authorities started investigating the network last year after a receiving a tip from Nuredin Weharabu Atta, a human smuggler who was sentenced to five years in prison in February.

Atta claims he decided to cooperate with authorities because too many migrants have died trying to reach Europe.

The criminal ring, which was headquartered in a perfume shop in Rome, reportedly traded in the organs of migrants who died on the dangerous journey to Italy.

Migrants, including children, who could not pay their traveling fee, were allegedly killed for their organs, which the traffickers sold for about $15,000.

Italian police reportedly seized different cash amounts of about $600,000 and $25,000 found in the perfume store.

A book filled with the names, bank accounts and phone contacts of migrants was also discovered in the cosmetic store where the group ran their operations.

“It was the place where the money of migrants who wanted to reach Italy was collected,” Palermo Prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi said.

The criminal network allegedly transported migrants, who paid more money, to Europe via air or land. These migrants avoided the overcrowded boats by buying fake marriage certificates for $11,000 to $16,000.

The group reportedly organized fake family reunions and weddings to allow these migrants stay in Italy legally.

The arrest of the trafficking ring is a boost to European authorities struggling to deal with the worst refugee crisis the region has experienced since World War II. According to the European Union, about 1.8 million migrants seeking asylum entered Europe last year.