HomeEuropean UnionGang smuggling migrants via the Balkan route busted in Germany

Gang smuggling migrants via the Balkan route busted in Germany

On 17 March, Europol supported the German Federal Police, Criminal Investigation Unit Halle (Bundespolizeiinspektion Kriminalitätsbekämpfung Halle) in dismantling an organised crime group smuggling migrants from Turkey to Germany. 

The criminal network has allegedly smuggled about 80 migrants originating from the Middle East, mainly Egypt, Syria and Turkey. The suspects used lorries and small vans to smuggle the migrants through the so-called Balkan route, from Turkey to Germany via Czechia or Poland. They used forerunners as a scout preventive measure to avoid detection by the police. The migrants were paying between €3 500 and €12 000 per person to be smuggled, in often life-threatening conditions 

The action day led to:

  • 6 house searches in Altenburg, Erfurt, Greifswald and Ronnenberg 
  • 3 individuals arrested 
  • Seizures include a vehicle, electronic equipment and documents

Europol facilitated the exchange of information, provided operational coordination and analytical support. On the action day, Europol deployed an expert to Germany to enable the real-time exchange of information and cross check operational information against Europol’s databases to provide leads to investigators in the field. 


In 2010 the European Union set up a four-year Policy Cycle to ensure greater continuity in the fight against serious international and organised crime. In 2017 the Council of the EU decided to continue the EU Policy Cycle for the 2018 – 2021 period. It aims to tackle the most significant threats posed by organised and serious international crime to the EU. This is achieved by improving and strengthening cooperation between the relevant services of EU Member States, institutions and agencies, as well as non-EU countries and organisations, including the private sector where relevant. Facilitation of illegal immigration is one of the priorities for the Policy Cycle.


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