So far, ten people have been detained in the course of a specialized police operation to neutralize an organized criminal group for migrant trafficking. This was announced to journalists by the Director of the Main Directorate of the Border Police, Chief Commissioner Anton Zlatanov, before the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on European Union, Schengen Area and Eurozone Affairs.
He explained that ten people were detained, and one person was under “house arrest” in Montana. “Eight of them will be charged,” the chief commissioner said, adding that six have already been charged and remanded in custody for 72 hours. “A decision will be made about the others after the 24-hour detention measure expires, maybe they will be witnesses,” Anton Zlatanov also said. “Ten persons were detained at ten sites in Sofia this morning. One is being sought, he was not at the address,” commented the director of the “Border Police” and reported that procedural and investigative actions, searches and questioning of witnesses are still ongoing regarding the operation.
“The group operated as follows: there are two leaders who, through coercion and threats, forced cash-strapped and dependent people to transport migrants,” explained the chief commissioner. “All the detainees are Bulgarians. The interesting thing is that the leaders have no criminal record,” said Zlatanov and specified that half of the detainees have no criminal record and have not been convicted.
“The group is very large-scale, with clear and different levels, with leaders, with their assistants and executors,” explained the director of the “Border Police” and specified that the route for transporting the migrants was from Turkey to Western Europe through Serbia.
“We had extremely good cooperation under the supervision of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office during the entire period. We have been monitoring the group for several months, carrying out operative-search activities,” Zlatanov also said and pointed out that such a large-scale organized criminal group has not been implemented for years.
“Anyone who exercises in various media that migrant traffickers are accidentally caught at intersections and after accidents should take their words back. Because many times both I and my colleagues have stated that sometimes we have to let the trafficker, the driver of the migrants pass and capture him where and when we decide, so that in a few months we can document in several volumes of evidence, for so that we have no doubt, together with the prosecutors, that charges should be brought,” commented Anton Zlatanov, quoted by BTA.