Moldova, Ukraine Halt Human Smuggling Route

A transnational criminal organisation specialising in human smuggling, composed of Ukrainian and Moldovan citizens, was dismantled by a joint effort of the Moldovan and Ukrainian border authorities.

According to the investigation, the Ukrainian cell of the criminal group recruited Ukrainian men and charged them $10,000 each to facilitate their illegal migration across the Moldovan-Ukrainian border.

Once in Moldova, members of the Moldovan cell took over, guiding the migrants across the border clandestinely. They were then transported to Chișinău, the Moldovan capital. There, their stay was regularised, and arrangements were made for them to continue their journey to EU countries.

On June 5th, authorities apprehended two Ukrainian citizens near Vartikovțî-Larga attempting to cross the border illegally. The men admitted to paying $10,000 each to the organisation for their illegal migration.

Following this apprehension, a subsequent operation led to the arrest of a key figure in the Moldovan cell. Based on operational data, the arrested individual was identified as a well-known crime boss in the northern region of the country, aged 55.

Authorities also identified one of the leaders of the entire criminal group. Currently under house arrest for a similar offence, the 62-year-old resident of the Rîșcani district was reportedly directing the smuggling operation remotely via phone and social media.

Searches at the residences of the arrested individuals yielded passports belonging to Ukrainian citizens slated for smuggling, mobile phones, and documents related to the criminal case.

Both the Moldovan and Ukrainian members of the criminal group are currently in custody and will be formally arrested.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

Bogdan Nigai

Bogdan Nigai


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