With the support of Europol and Eurojust, the German Federal Police and the Romanian police dismantled an organized criminal network that was involved in the smuggling of migrants, mainly Afghan nationals.
According to a press release issued today, October 6, by Europol, during the procedure, police searched 19 locations, 14 of them in Timisoara, four in Timis County, and one in Bucharest, TheSchengen.com reports.
On the working day of October 5, police officers identified and immediately arrested 27 suspects, including 16 Afghanis, an Iranian and four Romanians. In addition, during the same procedure, the police confiscated a large amount of cash, 83 mobile phones and other electronic devices, as well as ten vials of morphine.
Based on the same press release, it was revealed that such illegal activities have been operating since May last year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and increased controls.
“Investigative activities indicate that the network has been operating in the Romanian provinces of Timis and Arad since May 2020. The criminal network, mainly made up of Afghan nationals, has been smuggling recruited Afghan migrants from refugee camps and other places where asylum seekers congregate,” Europol reads the statement.
The suspects are believed to have smuggled about 200 migrants from Romania to other Western European countries, mainly to Germany and France, by facilitating illegal transportation and harboring migrants at crossing points.
In order to obtain such services and reach one of the two countries, the migrants had to pay between 1,000 and 2,000 euros only to be transported in the back of large trucks that were very dangerous.
It is believed that during several days of transportation, the migrants, hiding behind pallets, logs and other goods, endured inhumane conditions without any emergency security measures. German investigators from Rosenheim and Munich discovered fifty other similar cases.
Based on the results of the investigations, the truck drivers were unaware that there were people in the back of their trucks. When truck drivers took their slumbers in Romania, smugglers untied the ropes covering the trailer doors to open them and got out of the car.
From there, the migrants entered the loading area unnoticed and, once in Germany, jumped off the truck as the drivers took breaks or unloaded the load.
During this procedure, Europol assisted in the exchange of information and provided technical support and coordination. Moreover, on the working day, Europol sent an analyst to Romania to enable the exchange of information in real time.
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