Austria, Hungary Bust Migrant Smuggling Network
The Austrian and Hungarian authorities have dismantled an Austrian-based organised crime ring involved in the smuggling of migrants.
Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC) has supported the operation.
“The group was composed of 25 Russian nationals of Chechen origin residing in Austria. The Austrian-based key facilitator was recruiting drivers in Austria and deploying them to Hungary. He was in permanent contact with the recruiters who had been tasked to recruit migrants in refugee camps in Hungary,” the European police organisation said in a statement on Monday.
The crime ring is suspected to have smuggled over 200 individuals before being dismantled, Europol added.
Arrests of suspects involved in people smuggling were made in Austria, Hungary and Slovakia during the operation.
The smuggled migrants were asylum-seekers of Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian nationality who had left without permission the reception centres they were residing in.
The smugglers were charging around EUR 300 per person for a trip from Hungary to Vienna and EUR 700 to 800 from Hungary to Germany, according to the statement.
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