North Macedonia arrests six suspected migrant smugglers

Authorities in North Macedonia said they had arrested six people suspected of leading a migrant smuggling network that illegally transferred people from Greece to wealthier European countries.

The prosecutor’s office said on June 2 that the arrests were made during police raids in the capital, Skopje, and four other towns.

Police said the criminal network had illegally taken at least 100 migrants from Greece in trucks to places near the Serbian border since last July.

The migrants were charged by the traffickers up to $ 850 each.

Authorities said they came from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria and other countries in the Middle East.

If tried and convicted, the six suspects face at least five years in prison.

Police were still looking for three other people suspected of links to the smuggling group.

Four other members of the network were already serving prison terms, authorities said.

North Macedonia is a transit route for migrants trying to get from Greece to richer countries in Western and Northern Europe.

Human trafficking has remained active in the region despite border closures and movement restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With reports from AP and BalkanInsight

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