Europol: 28 Arrested for Smuggling Migrants via Bulgaria and Romania

Europol has supported the Romanian Border Police (Poliția Română de Frontera) in dismantling an organized crime group involved in migrant smuggling. The Bulgarian General Directorate Combating Organised Crime (Главна Дирекция Организирана Престъпност) and the German Federal Police in Waidhaus (Bundespolizeiinspektion Waidhaus) were also involved in the operation. During the action day, Germany deployed a prosecutor to Romania to advise on the collection of evidence, in view of their potential use in German judicial proceedings, while Bulgarian investigator and Europol analysis and two guest officers took also part in the activities in Romania. 

The action day led to:

  • 29 locations searched in Bucharest, Arges district, Buzau, Constanta and Brasov
  • 28 individuals arrested 
  • Diverse seizures

The Romanian Border Police initiated the investigation into this criminal network in 2022, following the arrests of several van drivers at the border with Bulgaria. The investigation uncovered a criminal network that was composed of several suspects, clustered in two groups depending on their tasks. One of the groups, composed mainly of Romanian nationals, was responsible for the transportation, with the other in charge of recruitment of migrants who could to be smuggled. 

Smuggled in trucks and vans across the Balkan route

The criminal organization smuggled irregular migrants from Turkey to Germany via Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Czechia. The suspects smuggled the migrants via land across specific Border Crossing Points (BCPs) at the Bulgarian-Romanian border such as Ostrov BCP, Giurgiu BCP and Bechet BCP. They then held them in locations near the Romanian city of Timisoara for a day or two, before further...

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