Human TraffickingNews

Criminal network that smuggled migrants across Europe dismantled

Eurojust and Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC), have assisted authorities in the Czech Republic, Belgium, Poland, Germany and Hungary in dismantling an organised crime group (OCG) that was involved in migrant smuggling. During an action, nine suspects were arrested and nine locations were searched. Eurojust provided financial support and assisted the authorities in setting up a joint investigation team (JIT).

According to the investigations, the OCG had been organising the smuggling of illegal migrants from Vietnam at least since March 2021. The victims were transported through the territories of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and Belgium, to their final destinations, usually France or the United Kingdom.

For this activity, the suspects used their personal motor vehicles and, in some cases, used inflatable motorboats for the final stage of the journey, endangering the victims’ lives.

During an action carried out from 20 to 22 June 2022 in the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Belgium, nine people were arrested and seven home searches were carried out, together with two searches of other premises. Several motor vehicles and cash amounting to several hundred thousand Czech crowns were seized.

In addition to supporting the establishment of the JIT and providing it with funding, Eurojust actively facilitated the cross-border judicial cooperation between the national authorities involved. The Agency organised three coordination meetings and a coordination centre during the action.

Europol provided additional analytical support to the investigation, facilitated the exchange of information and supported the law enforcement authorities.

The following authorities took part in the operations:

  • Czech Republic: National Organized Crime Agency, District Public Prosecutor´s Office for Prague 3
  • Belgium: Federaal Parket; Federale Gerechtelijke Politie
  • Germany: Public Prosecutor´s Office Berlin, Joint investigation group of the Berlin State Criminal Police Office and German Federal Police.
  • Hungary: National Bureau of Investigation, Metropolitan Chief Prosecution Office