Two people have been arrested, and another one has been detained by a local court in Hungary, for being involved in two separate criminal cases of illegal transportation of foreign migrants, the National Tax Authority (NAV) has announced on July 24. A total of 54 individuals included in the two cases have been identified by customs officers in Hungary.
In the first case, two men from Romania and Greece hid four women and 25 men between the equipment and moving packages in their truck.
When stopped in Zala county in southwest Hungary, the smugglers told the officers on duty that they were transferring private possessions.
While the smugglers’ truck had German licence plates, the migrants claimed they were from countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India. They were having a bad experience on the road since the cargo was overheated, which could have resulted in their asphyxiation.
According to NAV, the smugglers, as well as the migrants, were handed over to the Zala County police afterwards.
Regarding the second case, last Monday, the Zala County Prosecutor’s Office announced that a local court had ordered the arrest and detention of a Romanian driver who attempted to transport 24 illegal migrants from Hungary to Slovenia by concealing them in his vehicle under cruel conditions.
These migrants were Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan citizens and met the 39-year-old driver near Arad, Romania, where he hid them in some small areas in the truck’s compartment.
In an investigation that the Hungarian customs officers were carrying out at a parking lot on motorway M70 at Csörnyeföld near Slovenia’s border, they found these migrants inside the truck with insufficient air, water or food.
The driver was afterwards arrested and sent to jail for people smuggling and maltreatment.
People smugglers are often caught by the Hungarian police illegally transporting people to the EU. Earlier this month, two people smugglers were sentenced to ten years in prison and banned for another ten for the transportation of illegal migrants in a truck without proper conditions.
In May 2023, Hungary released tens of jailed people smugglers to avoid EU fines for crowded prisons. According to the State Secretary of Hungary, Bence Rétvári, the move was a consequence of the lack of financial support from Brussels.
Hungary is not, however, the only EU country suffering from people smugglers, as the latter operate throughout the whole of Europe.
Last week, 62 smugglers of Cuban nationals were arrested in a major EU operation. The smugglers would guarantee migrants their entire travel until the destination, together with false documentation and transfer.
In collaboration with the authorities of Germany, Greece, North Macedonia, Spain, and Serbia, Interpol and Europol managed to detect this organised crime and arrest the suspects.