Thirteen Albanians arrested for running violent Balkan people smuggling racket
ROME -- The Mediterranean Sea is often referred to as a migrant graveyard and is flagged as the most dangerous part of routes to Europe. New reports show that those migrants who flee into Italy also have a gruesome journey ahead of them as more details emerge from the investigation by the Trieste Police coordinated by the DDA.
An investigation was launched into a human trafficking organization that had been smuggling migrants across the Balkan border into Italy that uncovered that the migrants had been drugged and beaten during the journey and that children were given heavy sleeping pills to keep them quiet.
The migrants would meet with the traffickers at the border between Slovenia and Croatia, and then start their hours and sometimes days-long voyage From Pomjan into Italy.
The migrants at the Slovenia-Croatia border were gathered there by a designated contact person who had guided them through the earlier portion of their journey along the commonly known Balkan route. Throughout the trek in the forest, the migrants were often encouraged to consume large quantities of energy drinks and other stimulants in an attempt to battle their exhaustion as they were not given any breaks throughout the hours-long journey.
Upon reaching Pomjan with the smugglers, the migrants embarked on vehicles to reach the outskirts of Trieste, while the smugglers themselves transferred to different vehicles.
The network of smugglers, known as passeurs, earned approximately 200-250 euros per migrant to help them tackle this leg of the journey and were reportedly very violent.
The investigations into the smuggling started in early 2022 and have since uncovered at least 32 incidents, each involving migrants from different backgrounds.
Over the course of the investigation from Monday until yesterday, 13 suspects mainly from Albania and Kosovo, who were primarily residing in Trieste, were arrested and placed under detention. The operation was conducted by the Trieste mobile team in collaboration with the local Sisco, under the coordination of the central anti-crime police department, and with operational support from mobile teams in Bologna, Rimini, Pesaro Urbino, and Treviso.
The crime prevention departments of Padua, Bologna, and Reggio Emilia, as well as the police forces from France, Slovenia, Kosovo, and Albania, also aided.
In total, approximately thirty individuals have been placed under investigation, some of whom were apprehended in Slovenia.
They face around thirty charges, including involvement in a criminal association and trafficking.
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