On March 17, Europol supported the German Federal Police, Criminal Investigation Unit Halle (Bundespolizeiinspektion Kriminalitätsbekämpfung Halle) in dismantling an organized crime group smuggling migrants from Turkey to Germany.
The criminal network has allegedly smuggled about 80 migrants originating from the Middle East, mainly Egypt, Syria and Turkey. The suspects used lorries and small vans to smuggle the migrants through the so-called Balkan route, from Turkey to Germany via Czechia or Poland. They used forerunners as a scout preventive measure to avoid detection by the police. The migrants were paying between €3,500 and €12,000 per person to be smuggled, in often life-threatening conditions.
The law enforcement action resulted n six house searches, three individuals arrested, and the seizure of a vehicle, electronic equipment and numerous documents.
Europol facilitated the exchange of information, provided operational coordination and analytical support. On the action day, Europol deployed an expert to Germany to enable the real-time exchange of information and cross check operational information against Europol’s databases to provide leads to investigators in the field.