Today Europol confirmed the two operations in Germany and Italy lead to arrests of individuals suspected in trafficking of irregular migrants. On the 5th of January German Federal Police conducted several house searches in Berlin and executed two arrest warrants in Mönchengladbach. Simultaneously Italian authorities arrested a suspect in Bolzano. The arrested are perceived as a part of a criminal network involved in smuggling and trafficking of irregular migrants. The perpetrators did not dwell over transporting migrants under dangerous circumstances in overloaded vehicles.
This criminal syndicate, composed mainly of Lebanese nationals, facilitated the transport of Syrian nationals via Hungary and Austria to Germany.
The arrested are suspected of having smuggled 29 persons in 12 different smuggling incidents since June 2016. Each migrant had to pay between EUR 500 -1 000 to the network.
Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre actively supported the involved Member States’ law enforcement authorities by cross-checking information, and analytical support highlighting links between different national investigations.