300 migrants smuggled to Europe a month
300 migrants smuggled a month: Slovenia and Kosovo 1 apprehend major organised crime group in the Balkans.
Law enforcement authorities worked together on March 21 to arrest 12 migrant smugglers operating in the Balkans. Slovenia, Kosovo, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and Europol arrested the individuals. This as part of a cross-border operation to dismantle an organised crime group based in the area.
The operation targeted the group as it was involved in smuggling migrants from Kosovo to Slovenia, via the so-called Balkan route. Operating the length of this particular route, the group used different modes of transport to cross borders. They made use of safe houses and a network of contacts along the way.
Over the past year the group has smuggled 300 people, including minors, to Europe every month. The smugglers charged the migrants € 2,500-3,000 each and therefore made € 900,000 every month through their illegal activities.
The Joint Action Day was seen as a success in the fight against migrant smuggling:
- 8 arrests made in Kosovo and 4 in Slovenia 1
- 12 houses searched
- 19 mobile devices confiscated
- 4 guns with ammunition seized
- Several forged passports found
The Slovenian National Police and the District State Prosecutor’s Office in Koper led the operation, with cooperation and support from the Kosovan Police and the Prosecutor’s Office in Mitrovica, EULEX Kosovo and Europol.
Europol organised operational meetings in Pristina and provided analytical and investigative support. Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC) deployed an officer with a mobile office to Pristina to support Kosovan Police and EULEX Kosovo with a Universal Forensic Extraction Device – a mobile forensic kit that can extract data from mobile phones.
© Europol / #Norway Today
1 Following UN Council resolution 1244