Europol supported the Romanian Police (Poliția Română) to dismantle an organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling. Law enforcement authorities from Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Serbia also supported the investigation.
During the investigation, police officers detected on 4 separate occasions 30 irregular migrants trying to illegally cross borders. The migrants were legally entering Serbia or Romania before being smuggled further into the EU. The migrants were paying between €5 000 and €6 000 per person to be smuggled in lorries and vans from Romania to Germany, Italy and Portugal.
The investigation, initiated in 2019, uncovered a well-organised criminal network with branches in several Eastern European countries. A number of Indian citizens, some of them residing legally in Romania, were coordinating the criminal activities. In November 2020 and in January 2021, Romanian police officers arrested two individuals of Indian origin, suspected of leading the recruitment branch. A gang consisting of Romanian nationals was responsible for the transportation of the irregular migrants to their final destination countries.
Europol facilitated the exchange of information, provided operational coordination and analytical support. On the action day, Europol deployed an analyst to Bacau, Romania, 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.