Police in the Balkans arrested 21 men suspected of smuggling some 200 Turks to the European Union, officials said on Thursday.
The authorities have accused the suspects, including a Turkish national believed to be the network’s leader, of using the possibility of traveling without visas between Turkey, Bosnia and Montenegro to transport migrants from Istanbul to Sarajevo and Podgorica.
The police, who carried out a joint operation involving officers from Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro, said the migrants were then being smuggled to EU member Croatia and from there to Western Europe.
A Bosnian border police officer said the suspects – from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia – took between 3,500 euros and 5,000 euros for each person who brought them to an EU country.
In addition to arrests on Wednesday, the police also raided several houses in western Bosnia and neighboring Croatia, where the gang kept illegal immigrants and confiscated mobile phones, phone strips and amounts of money, the officer added.