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6 arrested in Romania, Germany, Bulgaria in probe of people-smuggling ring

BERLIN (AP) — Six people have been arrested in Romania, Germany and Bulgaria in raids targeting a network alleged to have smuggled hundreds of migrants into Romania and Germany, authorities said Wednesday.

Fifteen properties were searched on Wednesday, 11 of them in Romania, German federal police said in a statement. Four of the arrests were made in searches of accommodation in Romania used to house migrants. Three cars were seized, along with cellphones, cash and other evidence.

There was one arrest apiece in Germany and Bulgaria.

The suspects are accused of smuggling more than 560 people into Germany and more than 300 into Romania, according to German police.

The investigation started after Turkish and Syrian citizens were found near Germany's borders with Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland.

They had been brought from Turkey by various means of transportation. Police said that the smugglers took them from the western Romanian city of Timisoara to Germany hidden among goods in trucks “in inhumane conditions over several days.”

Serbian authorities arrested a suspected smuggler responsible for coordination within the same network inside Serbia last July. In December, officials in Germany, Romania and Serbia set up a joint investigation team to dismantle the alleged network.

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