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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Police broke up a network of smugglers with illegal migrants

By: C.R.

On August 4th, 2021, criminal investigators from the Criminal Police Sector of the Koper Police Department carried out a final operation in a lengthy criminal investigation, which was directed by the District State Prosecutor’s Office in Koper. The criminal investigation against the criminal group, which for a long time was involved in the smuggling of illegal immigrants from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina through Croatia and Slovenia to Italy, was carried out in cooperation with the Italian and Croatian security authorities. Thus, a criminal group whose members operated in the territory of Slovenia was broken up.

It was established that the criminal group, with differently assigned roles in the group, on the territory of Slovenia consisted of:

  1. 31-year-old Slovenia citizen from the area of Ljubljana (organiser of smuggling, who also took care of the rental of smuggling vehicles and electrical communication devices),
  2. 33-year-old BiH citizen from the area of Ljubljana (organiser of smuggling and renter of vehicles used for smuggling),
  3. 21-year-old Slovenian citizen from the area of Ljubljana (driver of illegal immigrants),
  4. 20-year-old Slovenian citizen from the Kranj area (the so-called predecessor to vehicles with which smuggling was carried out, he also delivered food and clothing),
  5. 21-year-old Slovenian citizen from the Ljubljana area (the so-called predecessor to the vehicles used for smuggling, he also delivered food and clothing),
  6. 43-year-old Kosovo citizen from Italy (driver of illegal immigrants who also used forged documents)

In the final operation (August 4th, 2021), 2 house searches were carried out in the area of Ljubljana and 2 suspects of the organiser of smuggling of illegal immigrants in the territory of Slovenia were arrested, namely a 31-year-old Slovenian citizen and a 33-year-old BiH citizen. The latter has been active in the field of committing these acts for several years, and in 2019 he was convicted of such a crime. After his release from prison, he continued to carry out these acts despite his conditional release. During house searches, detectives found several electronic devices, a small package of illicit drugs and other items relevant to the criminal proceedings.

The members of the criminal group thus committed:

  • three criminal offenses of illegal crossing of the state border or territory,
  • 1 misdemeanour procedure was initiated by issuing a decision on a misdemeanour for violating Article 33 of the Law on Production and Trafficking in Illicit Drugs.

To commit the criminal offenses of smuggling illegal immigrants, the members of the association used rented vehicles from various companies from the area of Ljubljana and the surrounding area, and the vehicle with which they smuggled illegal immigrants was always accompanied by the so-called predecessor. The members of the association also delivered food, drinks and fresh clothes to the illegal immigrants at the collection points. Combined trucks were used for transport. In one case, a driver of illegal immigrants, when stopped by the Italian police, also ran away from police patrols at the instructions of the organiser, driving off the road and damaging a rented vehicle. He was subsequently arrested and the Italian security authorities found that he had used forged documents. Illegal crossings of the state border were carried out in the area of Podgorje (Koper Police Department), Cerknica (Ljubljana Police Department) and Velika Dolina (Novo mesto Police Department).

During the investigation period, the company smuggled or tried to smuggle at least 17 illegal immigrants, citizens of Bangladesh, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, through the territory of Slovenia to the territory of Italy. It is estimated that the criminal group gained between 68,000 and 85,000 euros in illegal property gains, with the members of the group sharing their earnings according to their role in the criminal group. The price of smuggling from BiH to Italy ranged from 4,000 to 5,000 euros per person, while the price of transport from the border with Croatia through Slovenia to Italy was about 350 euros per person, so the exact amount of material gain is difficult to determine. The Italian security authorities dealt with one crime, which was organised by the above-mentioned organisers from the area of Ljubljana, and a Kosovo citizen was arrested with forged documents.

On August 5th, 2021, a 31-year-old Slovenian citizen and a 33-year-old BiH citizen were brought for questioning to the investigating judge of the Koper District Court. After the interrogation, the two were remanded in custody in Koper prison.

In the specific case, the criminal investigators of the Koper Police Department are continuing to review and evaluate the protected data from the seized electronic devices and will inform ODT Koper about all new findings. In Slovenia, the criminal offense of Prohibited Crossing of the Border or Territory of the State (according to Article 308 / III-VI of the Criminal Code) is punishable by imprisonment for a term of three to fifteen years and a fine.

Source: PU Koper

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