Large-scale operation in Austria: the smashing of the police tractor network

Status: 11/27/2021 4:20 p.m.

Austrian police managed to beat up a gang of smugglers. The officers arrested 15 people believed to have brought 700 people into the country. Many refugees have already traveled to Germany.

In Austria, police have uncovered a network of people smugglers who are said to have illegally brought more than 700 people into the country. Most of them made their way to Germany, a police spokesman reported in St. Pölten in Lower Austria.

Within a few days, 15 suspected smugglers who had transported people from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt were arrested. According to investigators, the smuggling operation was broken up after the start of the transfer of 200 to 300 people with a total of 25 vehicles from the Serbian-Hungarian border on November 16. “Your vehicles were ready for these trips,” a police spokesman told station ORF.

Migrants paid up to 5,000 euros

The route was to pass through Slovakia and the Czech Republic to Lower Austria, where 14 vehicles were impounded. Drivers were recruited in Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan with monthly wages of up to 3,000 euros.

A police spokesman said about a third of the hundreds of migrants had applied for asylum in Austria. Those selected indicated that they planned to reach Germany themselves. The other two-thirds may have already traveled there. Each immigrant was required to travel to Austria between 4,000 and 5,000 euros.

337 suspected smugglers have already been arrested

“Smuggling is not only one of the largest branches of organized crime, but above all it is extremely inhumane,” Interior Minister Karl Nehamer told ORF. Refugees are often given false promises, according to the OVP politician.

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This year, 337 people were arrested in Austria on suspicion of being smugglers. Last year, a total of 311 people were arrested.

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