The 37-year-old, a resident of Nice, was arrested in Breil-sur-Roya, a French mountain hamlet close to the border, after being caught carrying eight Eritreans, including three women and two children, in his Citroen van, Italian police said in a statement on Wednesday.
The alleged people-smuggler was followed by police from Ventimiglia, an Italian border town which has become a migrant bottleneck.
Police said the man was already known to police in the area for his involvement with “no border” activist groups.
His arrest follows that of a Tunisian citizen, who was caught smuggling 28 migrants across the border, on July 13th.
Tensions over the migrant situation have grown at the border in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, some 200 migrants managed to break through police barriers in Ventimiglia and make their way into France. They were later sent back as ‘no border’ activists clashed with police, with one officer dying of a heart attack.