13 members of Albanian people smuggling gang detained in Belgium and abroad

Last month seven members of an Albanian people smuggling gang were detained across Belgium as part of an international police operation. In addition to the seven people detained here in Belgium a further six suspects were detained in several other European countries. The Federal Judicial Authorities have requested that the six suspects detained elsewhere in Europe are sent to Belgium. 

Since July 2018 the Federal Judicial Police in Brussels has been closely following the activities of a number of Albanian nationals suspected of smuggling illegal immigrants to the United Kingdom via Brussels. As the people smuggling gang also has members based in France and the UK the Federal Judicial Authorities took charge of the investigation.

The Judicial Authorities say that the gang’s victims were brought from Albania to Belgium where they were put up in hotels awaiting lorries that would transport them to the UK illegally.

An international network

 

The Belgian branch of the organisation consisted of two cells. The instructions concerning transportation came from gang members in the UK. It is there that those suspected to be at the head of the gang are based. Last December Brussels police, assisted by colleagues from Antwerp, Halle-Vilvoorde and Mons raided seven addresses. Seven Albanian nationals were detained. Six have since been charged by an Examining Magistrate.  

At the same time the suspected leader of the gang was detained in the UK. Five other members of the gang were detained. Two of these were detained in the UK, one in Greece, one in Italy and one in Montenegro. The Federal Judicial Authorities have requested that those gang members that were detained abroad be sent to stand trial here in Belgium. 

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