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NNI busts international people smuggling ring

The Veszprem Prosecutor's Office has brought charges against an international people smuggling ring of 14 people, investigated by the National Investigation Bureau's Rapid Response Unit (KR NNI), a senior official of KR NNI said on Thursday.

The ring led by a Libyan national and assisted by Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak and Polish accomplices has allegedly smuggled more than 600 illegal migrants via Hungary to western Europe from the autumn of 2020 until May 2021, Gabor Balog, the head of KR NNI’s illegal migration department, told a press conference in Budapest.

The 55-year-old Libyan man, known as “Abu Mariam”, charged each migrant between 3,500-4,500 euros for arranging their illegal transport first to Hungary across the Serbian border and later to the west, Balog said.

The Lybian man was arrested in Budapest on September 22, 2021, Balog said, adding that the authorities seized Romanian and Bulgarian documents identifying him under three different names.

Next in rank to the ring leader was a 46-year-old Romanian national who was detained on May 11, 2021 in the town of Gyongyos east of Budapest.

Balog said the investigation had identified the entire route of the ring’s well-organised and coordinated operation of smuggling the migrants from third countries to the border region in southern Hungary and further to their destination for a profit.

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