OREANDA-NEWS. The operation, which began early on Tuesday, January 19, involved more than 400 law enforcement officers in Germany. As a result five residents were detained. The police believe that they may be involved in human smuggling.

Searches and detentions were carried out in the federal states of Berlin, Lower Saxony, North Rhine — Westphalia and Hesse, the Kempten Prosecutor's Office and the federal police in Munich said. According to the investigation, this group has been illegally transporting people to Germany along the so-called «Balkan route» since at least April 2019. 19 people aged between 21 and 44 are being investigated. These people are suspected of having illegally transported migrants to Germany as part of a criminal group in at least 23 cases.

The law enforcement agencies note, that the criminals acted in a coordinated and very professional manner. They, for example, sent scouts along the route in advance to find the police.

Federal police were on the trail of the gang after the arrest of one of the smugglers in August 2019. The leader of the group was detained in Austria in December 2020. In addition to Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Belgium participated in the international investigation.