Romania uncovers another people smuggling ring

By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

The Romanian authorities have cracked down on a network of people smugglers who smuggle African and Asian refugees through Hungary to Austria, according to the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).

According to a DIICOT statement released on Wednesday, the trafficking network, which is largely made up of Romanian nationals, has been smuggling illegal immigrants into Austria via Hungary since 2022. According to Hungarian news agency MTI, the African and Asian migrants crossed the Romanian-Hungarian border illegally, then were picked up by members of the criminal gang at Szeged and transported to Nickelsdorf, near Austria.

In exchange for the transport, they demanded €3,000 per person from their passengers. According to prosecutors, more than 20 such trips may have been organized by the smugglers in Hungary, several of whom have been arrested by the Hungarian authorities.

On Wednesday, DIICOT carried out 36 searches in Romania and one search for evidence by Austrian authorities in Austria. In addition to trafficking in human beings, the members of the criminal network were also involved in drug trafficking along the Netherlands-Austria-Hungary-Romania route.

Romanian authorities caught gang members twice trying to sell hard drugs: at a beach festival in Constanța and in Cluj County. They were additionally trying to launder the illegally obtained money through companies registered in Romania. DIICOT said that the members of the criminal network were under investigation in cooperation with the Hungarian authorities, and a European arrest warrant had been issued.

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