A suspected leader of a smuggling gang has been arrested in Germany this week, AFP news agency reports . 26 suspects were arrested earlier this week in Belgium and France. The arrests follow an international investigation into the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants.

The victims were found last year in a truck in Grays, British, near the port of Purfleet. They were already dead at that time. More than twenty people had previously been arrested in the case, including the driver.

The suspected leader, nicknamed 'The Bald Duke', was arrested in southern Germany this week. It is not known what the nationality of the 29-year-old man is. According to sources, he could lead the network in France.

The other 26 suspects were arrested Tuesday. It concerns thirteen people in France and thirteen in Belgium. They are suspected of human trafficking, manslaughter and participation in a criminal organization. Of the thirteen detainees in France, twelve are in prison, while eleven of them have already been formally charged in Belgium.

Gang asked 20,000 euros

The investigation shows that migrants in the north of France have entered the truck. The network would have continued to work even after the tragedy. They usually asked for amounts of around 20,000 euros to smuggle people from France to Great Britain.

The victims, including two 15-year-old boys, had been in the refrigerated trailer of the truck for at least ten hours before they were discovered. The car arrived in England by boat from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

According to preliminary research results, the Vietnamese have died from a combination of oxygen starvation and overheating in an enclosed space. This cause of death is still unofficial.