Europol announces the arrest of part of a migrant smuggling network in Bulgaria

The European Law Enforcement Agency – Europol announced that it helped the Bulgarian authorities dismantle a migrant smuggling network active on the Balkan route, and is considered part of “the largest criminal network for smuggling migrants from Turkey to Western Europe via Bulgaria and Serbia.”

Europol said that large sums of money and documents proving the involvement of the accused were confiscated, in addition to the arrest of five people, according to the “InfoMigrants” website.

On October 4, after cooperation between the Bulgarian authorities and Europol, it was announced that a network that is active in Bulgaria and is part of “the largest criminal network for smuggling migrants from Turkey to Western Europe via Bulgaria and Serbia” has been dismantled.

Europol said that investigations proved that this logistical migrant smuggling cell facilitated the movement from the eastern part of Bulgaria (the cities of Burgas and Yambol) to Sofia, and then to the Bulgarian border with Serbia. The transportation of the migrants was arranged in two stages, first to Sofia and then to the border with Serbia. In Sofia, migrants were transported to remote locations to avoid police attention. They were also charged between 1,000 and 3,000 euros per person to reach the Serbian border.

The smugglers transported between 10 and 30 migrants in each smuggling operation.

Bulgaria is located on the main route through which migrants arriving into Europe from the Middle East and Asia cross. During the past months, officers from the Bulgarian General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime have been investigating the network to determine the role played by the suspects in migrant smuggling activities.

Europol, which is based in The Hague, reported, “The information collected indicates that this logistics cell is part of the largest criminal network smuggling migrants from Turkey to Western Europe via Bulgaria and Serbia.”

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