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Investigators say migrants paid smugglers up to $6,000 for transport from Turkey to Western Europe.8 March 2018
German and Romanian police conducted simultaneous raids yesterday, dealing a blow to a human trafficking network.
The ring, allegedly one of Europe’s largest, had its hub in the western Romanian city of Timisoara. Romanian police raided hotels and apartments accommodating refugees in the city, according to Balkan Insight.
“It is an important action because we are trying to stop the phenomenon from the beginning, in order not to let the problem spread to other countries,” Daniel Horodniceanu, head of the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), was quoted as saying by the crime and security monitor EU-OCS.
The trafficking ring operated in a number of countries on the Balkan migration route. One of the leaders of the Romanian group was captured in the raids, EU-OCS reports.
Timisoara has become a transit hub for migrants since Hungary tightened border controls on its Serbian border, ABC News says.
According to ABC News, migrants paid $5,000 to $6,000 each for transport from Turkey to Austria and Germany.
Investigators said the ring brought 45 groups of refugees into Germany in 2017, according to Balkan Insight.
The traffickers avoided detection, using state-of-the-art technology, GPS systems, and cars registered in different countries. They would only communicate through encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber, EU-OCS says.
Romanian prosecutors said all those trafficked were from Middle Eastern countries, but their nationalities were not disclosed.
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