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A 28-year-old Romanian coordinated a criminal group that trafficked in over 36,000 illegal migrants and that has been dismantled in collaboration with Austrian authorities, the Sighetu Marmatiei Local Border Police Inspectorate (ITPF) said on Friday.

"Sighetu Marmatiei Border Police Local Inspectorate, together with Austrian authorities, has dismantled an organised crime group specialising in illegal migration. Coordinating the group was a 28-year old Romanian man with a criminal past since being underage," according to ITPF Sighetu Marmatiei.

More than 250 traffickers from Serbia, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, Turkey, Romania, and other countries were reportedly active in the network, with most of them being smugglers who would drive cars through preset areas. In less than one and a half year, the group trafficked more than 36,000 illegal migrants on the route Hungary - Austria, and Hungary - Slovakia - Czech Republic - Austria.

The proceeds from migrant trafficking exceed 150 million euros, with the cost of a transfer averaging more than 4,000 euros for each migrant.

ITPF Sighetu Marmatiei mentions that at the home of one of the Romanian members of the group, 27 cars were identified that were possibly used to transport migrants in Hungary and Austria.

As the persons involved would coordinate all criminal activity from Austria, the criminal aspects of the case were submitted to the Austrian judicial authorities, through the International Centre for Police Cooperation (ICCP) and the office of the internal affairs attache.

Investigations revealed that the group was coordinated by a 28-year-old Romanian citizen with a criminal past since being underage. He was wanted internationally under a pre-trial detention warrant in three countries: Romania, Hungary and Austria.

The Austrian authorities have established that more than 250 traffickers were active in the network, driving vehicles through preset areas. More than 90 members of the group were apprehended in Austria following co-operation between the police of the lands of Lower Austria and Burgenland with Romanian, Czech and Hungarian authorities. AGERPRES (RO - author: George Onea, editor: Karina Olteanu; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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