Police in Bosnia, Croatia arrest migrant traffickers with Europol’s support

Police from Bosnia, Croatia and regional agency Europol caught eight suspected traffickers on Wednesday and blocked the smuggling of 45 migrants into the EU, news wires reported. The detainees are suspected of transporting, hiding and smuggling migrants mostly from Turkey via Bosnia into EU member Croatia and onwards to Italy, Bosnia's state prosecutor's office said, calling the arrests the region's most comprehensive operation this year.

In the early hours of 27 May, some hundred officers from the Croatian Police and the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency  with the support of Europol targeted suspected of smuggling migrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU via Croatia, European police agency confirmed.  As a result, 4 suspects were arrested in Zagreb and Glina (Croatia), and 4 in Bihac, Cazin and Velika Kladusa (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Europol said in a statement.

This coordinated sting follows an investigation initiated earlier this year looking into the activities of this organised crime group. It is believed that this network has managed to smuggle some 50 migrants using this route since January 2020.

Europol said it was quick to prioritise the case, helped identify the different members of the criminal organisation and supported the exchange of information between all parties. An expert from its European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC) supported the action day from Croatia with the cross-checking in real-time of the operational information seized during the house searches.

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