Prosecutors charge five over trafficking migrants from Turkey through Bulgaria to Western Europe

Five people have been charged for participating in an organised crime group trafficking migrants from Turkey through Bulgaria to Serbia and Western Europe, Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office said on October 23.

They were detained on October 17 2019 in Plovdiv and Sofia in joint investigative action by the Special Prosecutor’s Office, the State Agency for National Security and the Ministry of Interior, with the assistance of the Gendarmerie Directorate.

During searches at five properties in Sofia and one in Plovdiv, as well as in cars used for the criminal activity, a large number of mobile phones and SIM cards were found and seized, with which the group coordinated its actions in transferring foreign citizens through the border, facilitating their stay and their removal from the country.

Marijuana was found and seized at one of the addresses.

On October 19, the Special Criminal Court remanded two of the accused in custody, ordered two into house arrest and allowed the fifth out of custody, with an order to regular sign a police register.

One of those held, the leader of the group and a Bulgarian national, was given house arrest to enable him to look after his two young children, the Prosecutor’s statement said.

The court decision is subject to appeal, the statement said.