A Frontex officer in Lithuania in July 2021 | Photo: EPA/STR
A Frontex officer in Lithuania in July 2021 | Photo: EPA/STR

Over 140 suspected people smugglers were arrested in an operation conducted by Frontex in central and southeastern Europe in early September.

The European Union's border agency Frontex said in a statement that from September 3 to 13 it conducted an operation in central and southeastern Europe together with Austrian authorities that brought the arrests of 144 suspected people smugglers.

The operation also reportedly led to the detection of 6,656 irregular migrants, 76 fraudulent documents, and 13 stolen cars.

The operation, known as EMPACT Joint Action Day (JAD) Danube, focused on combatting the smuggling of migrants, fighting trafficking in human beings and document fraud.

Billions of euros from trafficking

"Trafficking in human beings is one of the most profitable forms of organized crime, generating billions of euros for criminal networks," Frontex said in the statement.

Frontex said the operation was part of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT), a four-year plan to combat organized crime. It brings together police and law enforcement authorities of EU member states, European agencies and international organisations.

Participants in the operation included Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Greece, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania


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