4 arrested on migrant smuggling suspicions along Balkan route

Four suspects in Germany and Romania have been arrested in a joint organized migrant smuggling investigation, EU authorities announced on Wednesday. German, Romanian, and Serbian officials detected 93 incidents during the probe and believe the suspects were involved in the smuggling of more than 870 migrants, according to a statement by Europol. Three of the suspects were located in Romania and one in Germany, said Europol, which added that they may have used trucks to carry the migrants along the Balkan route further into Europe, often in inhumane conditions. Authorities raided 15 locations and seized mobile phones, electronic equipment, documents, and cash in various currencies, along with three vehicles, it said. Findings show irregular migrants paid up to pound 10,000 ($10,725) to get to Germany from Trkiye. German and Romanian authorities have been investigating members of the criminal network since the end of 2022, after several irregular migrants were caught in an attempt to cross the borders between Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. In Romania, the criminal network’s local unit gathered migrants in the western city of Timisoara before transporting them to Germany. This Romanian cell was involved in renting and managing locations where the migrants were hidden in the Arad and Timisoara areas, according to Europol. Authorities said that to spot and avoid possible police checks, members of the criminal group scouted ahead of the trucks carrying the migrants. “During this last leg of the smuggling route towards Germany, the migrants were placed in extremely dangerous conditions, facing a lack of ventilation and other threats to their safety. In some cases, the migrants would be forced to hide amongst cargo under such conditions for several consecutive days,” Europol said. In addition to Germany, Romania, and Serbia, the investigation included Austrian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Polish, and Turkish authorities.

Source: Anadolu Agency