Major Migrant Trafficking Operation Dismantled in Bulgaria

Politics | February 22, 2024, Thursday // 08:30
Bulgaria: Major Migrant Trafficking Operation Dismantled in Bulgaria @Wikimedia Commons

In a significant crackdown on organized crime, Bulgarian Border Police have detained ten individuals involved in migrant trafficking during a targeted operation in the Burgas area. Chief Commissioner Anton Zlatanov, Director of the General Directorate Border Police, disclosed the details of the operation to bTV on Wednesday, revealing that more arrests may follow. The operation is being conducted under the supervision of the District Prosecution Office of Burgas.

Zlatanov described the apprehended group as a highly active organized crime syndicate with a clear hierarchy, including leaders, assistants, and executors. This marks the third trafficking group dismantled by Border Police in the past four months, with two others disrupted by the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime.

Despite a notable reduction in migrant pressure, Zlatanov emphasized that the issue persists, citing a 50% increase in attempted border crossings during the summer compared to the previous year. Last summer saw unprecedented levels of activity, with up to 1,500 daily attempts recorded, making it the toughest period in a decade.

However, Zlatanov highlighted a positive trend, noting that migrant trafficking hit a ten-year low during the autumn and winter months. He attributed this decline to effective law enforcement efforts, signaling a degree of control over migrant pressure.

Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov confirmed plans for further arrests, revealing that the crime group had operated extensively across Bulgaria, particularly in the Burgas Region. Stoyanov revealed that the group's leader, who has a criminal record, is among those already apprehended. Additionally, there are suspicions of involvement from individuals within Interior Ministry structures.

The group utilized various routes to smuggle migrants into the Burgas Region, with authorities gathering substantial evidence on the roles and activities of its members. Stoyanov assured that thorough investigations are ongoing, underscoring the government's commitment to combating organized crime and securing the nation's borders.

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Tags: Bulgaria, migrant trafficking, organized crime, Border Police

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