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    Exterior view of the Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands

    Europol Busts Network Smuggling Kosovar Migrants to EU

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    A joint operation between Europol and Eurojust resulted in the arrest of 77 members of a network that smuggled Kosovars to the European Union.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Europol has dismantled a network engaged in illegal people smuggling from Kosovo to the European Union by arresting 77 of its members, the EU law enforcement agency said Wednesday.

    A joint operation between Europol and Eurojust, the bloc’s judicial cooperation unit, carried out arrests of gang members in Kosovo, Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, and Slovakia, the agency said in a press release published on its website.

    Some 46 of the smugglers were arrested on Tuesday, while others were detained during previous operations. Europol confiscated a number of cars, cellphones, computers, counterfeit travel documents and almost $57,000 in cash during the operation.

    The criminals organized illegal entry into the European Union for migrants from Kosovo. The migrants went to Hungary through Serbia with final destinations of Switzerland, Italy, Germany and France. The smuggling cost over $3,000 for a person traveling alone and more than $7,500 for a family.

    Kosovo is a partially recognized state in southeastern Europe. It declared its independence from Serbia, an aspiring EU member, in 2008 after decades of ethnic conflicts. Since then the European Union has seen a large increase in the number of migrants from Kosovo, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

    Hungary receives the majority of Kosovo's migrants who mostly head toward Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France, the IOM said. More than 10,000 Kosovars applied for asylum in Hungary in January 2015 alone, representing 78 percent of all the migrants into the country during the month, according to the organization.

    Related:

    EU Hopes to Adopt Association Agreement With Kosovo by Year-End
    Kosovo Loses Its People: Thousands Run Away in Search for Better Life
    Serbia Says Few Displaced From Kosovo Able to Return
    Tags:
    France, smuggling, Eurojust, Europol, Slovakia, Kosovo, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic
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