Bulgaria busts group smuggling migrants from Turkey to Serbia
The Bulgarian Special Prosecutor’s Office has lodged charges against four people of involvement in an organised crime group trafficking migrants from Turkey to Serbia, according to statements by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Interior Ministry.
The group was led by a citizen of Afghanistan, described in the statements as legally resident in Bulgaria although he had been refused asylum. He was taken into custody in a migrant centre in Sofia where he had been staying.
The other participants in the group were Bulgarians, the statements said.
The group had been operating since February 2015, organising the transport of migrants across the border from Turkey and across the Bulgarian-Serbian border, using different cars to do so.
In the course of pre-trial proceedings, the amount of money the group had made was still being determined, prosecutors said.
A large amount of evidence had been gathered about the group’s activities through covert surveillance, while there were also a large number of witnesses, the Prosecutor’s Office said.
Of the four, all arrested in Sofia on February 24, two were subject to an application in court to be remanded in custody pending the outcome of a trial, while the other two had been released on bail.