May 30, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Large-scale Europol operation to curb illegal migration through Belarus

During the Europol operation, 23 people were arrested – members of the criminal network and the alleged organizer of illegal migration.

The criminal network was engaged in transporting migrants to the European Union across the Belarusian border. The law enforcement agencies of Germany, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia participated in the large-scale operation.

According to the Polish border guard, 23 people were arrested, including a 51-year-old owner of a taxi company from Poland, allegedly the organizer of illegal migration. If his guilt is proven, he faces a prison sentence of up to 8 years. Anna Michalska, spokeswoman for the Polish border guard, says:

“In total this year, the border service has already detained 39 people. All of them acted at different levels, occupied different positions in the hierarchy of this criminal group. So its members did not necessarily know each other.”

According to the Polish authorities, Turkey acted as a transit point. Then the migrants, mostly from Iraq, flew on tourist visas to the Russian capital Moscow. From there they were transported to the border of Belarus and the European Union, and Germany was the final destination.

It was not easy to get to coveted Europe – smugglers had to pay from 3 to 15 thousand euros for services from each. The authorities believe that the total income of the crime group could be at least 16 million euros.

Earlier we said that law enforcement agencies of 11 countries took part in major Europol operation. The investigation, which was conducted in eight countries, uncovered criminal organizations carrying out criminal activities in the European Union and beyond. Their illicit enrichment was linked to money laundering and drug trafficking.

At the same time, 94 searches were carried out on November 22 at the heads of criminal organizations and their members throughout Europe. The activities of an extensive network of organizations extended to the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, Germany and France, and Slovakia.

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