With the support of Europol, five individuals of Russian nationality have been arrested in Germany and Poland, for the smuggling of irregular migrants.
Those arrested are suspected of being part an organised criminal network, composed of mainly Russian nationals with Chechen origin, who facilitated the illegal immigration of fellow country nationals via Poland to Germany.
The criminal group operated from various European countries and recruited Polish taxi drivers to transport the migrants across borders and to asylum centres in Germany. The group is suspected of smuggling more than 200 irregular Chechen migrants since March 2013, charging around EUR 1500 a time for the ‘service’.
On top of Wednesday’s two arrests in Germany and three in Poland, a number of house searches were carried out and important evidence was confiscated including computers, hard drives, mobile phones and SIM cards.
More than 170 officers from the German Federal Police - Regional Criminal Investigation Department Munich, plus officers from Polish and Belgian law enforcement authorities, were involved in the operation.
Throughout the investigation, Europol facilitated the exchange of intelligence and provided analytical support to the investigators.