Migrant Smuggling Ring Brought Down in Multi-Country Operation Coordinated by Eurojust and Europol

Credit: D.I.I.C.O.T. and Poliția

(IN BRIEF) A collaborative effort between Eurojust and Europol has led to the successful dismantling of an organized crime group involved in smuggling migrants into Germany. The operation involved authorities from Germany, Romania, Serbia, and Austria. During a joint action day, two suspects were arrested in Germany, while nine individuals in Romania were summoned for hearings. The investigation began after Turkish and Syrian nationals were apprehended in Germany near the borders with Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. The migrants had been smuggled through Bulgaria/Serbia and Romania, using different means of transport along the Balkan route. The smugglers employed trucks to transport migrants from Timisoara (Romania) to Germany, where they were hidden among cargo for several days under deplorable conditions. The migrants also had to cross borders on foot to evade official checkpoints. The investigation revealed that over 560 people were smuggled into Germany and over 300 people into Romania. The suspects charged between EUR 4000 and EUR 10,000 per migrant, depending on the route segment. Eurojust set up a joint investigation team, and Europol provided information exchange, analytical support, and on-ground assistance. The Serbian police had previously arrested a trafficker responsible for coordination in Serbia. Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the operation, including public prosecutors’ offices and police departments in the respective countries. The successful operation signifies a major blow to the organized crime network involved in migrant smuggling.

(PRESS RELEASE) THE HAGUE, 7-Jun-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — Eurojust, an agency of the European Union dealing with judicial co-operation in criminal matters among agencies of the member states, announces that its joint efforts with Europol have successfully supported judicial and law enforcement authorities in Germany, Romania, and Serbia in the dismantling of an organized crime group involved in smuggling hundreds of migrants into Germany. In a coordinated action, two suspects were apprehended in Germany, while nine individuals in Romania were summoned for hearings. A total of fifteen locations were searched, with eleven of them located in Romania. Authorities have seized luxury cars, cash, multiple mobile phones, and other crucial pieces of evidence. The operation involved the participation of nearly 200 officers.

The investigation was launched after the arrest of Turkish and Syrian nationals on German territory near the borders with Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. These migrants were discovered to have been smuggled into Germany through Bulgaria/Serbia and Romania, utilizing various modes of transportation along the notorious Balkan route. During the journey from Timisoara (Romania) to Germany, the smugglers concealed the migrants among cargo in trucks for several days, subjecting them to inhumane conditions. To evade official border checkpoints, some migrants had to traverse borders on foot. Additionally, overcrowded temporary accommodations lacking basic hygiene were used between different segments of the journey.

The individuals under investigation in this case are suspected of smuggling over 560 people into Germany and over 300 people into Romania. The migrants were charged between EUR 4000 and EUR 10,000 each, depending on the specific segment of the route. For example, the criminals demanded EUR 4000 to EUR 5000 for transporting individuals from Romania to Germany.

In order to uncover and dismantle this internationally operating migrant smuggling network, Eurojust established a joint investigation team in collaboration with German, Romanian, and Serbian authorities. Europol facilitated the exchange of information, provided analytical support, and deployed an expert to Romania to assist in on-ground activities during the operation. The Austrian law enforcement authorities also provided valuable support.

It is worth noting that the Serbian police authorities had previously apprehended a trafficker responsible for coordination in Serbia as part of their independent investigations in July 2022.

The investigation involved the following authorities:


  • Public Prosecutor’s Office Landshut
  • German Federal Police


  • Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice
  • Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism – Central Structure
  • Police Directorate for Combating Organized Crime
  • Timisoara Police Brigade for Countering Organized Crime
  • Timisoara Border Police


  • Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime of the Republic of Serbia
  • Service for Combating Organized Crime, Criminal Police Directorate, Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia

Media contact:

Eurojust Press Team
Phone: + 31 70 412 55 00




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