"The operations to dismantle an international criminal group involved in smuggling immigrants were carried out primarily on Polish territory," Olejnik said. 

 

As he pointed out, they involved Border Guard and Police officers, as well as Lithuanian services - the State Border Guard, which carried out searches of four places indicated by Polish services where illegal immigrants could have been stored or were staying.

 

"Activities were also carried out within Germany, by the Federal Police. They involved the perquisition of two places. Also, the German services issued a warrant for the detention of a person who resided in Berlin and was involved in organising illegal immigration but ultimately travelled to the UK. The British services, based on an appropriate request from the German services, detained this person and searched the addresses," Olejnik relayed.

 

He pointed out that the migratory pressure that took place last year at the section with Belarus also led the group to take steps to organise Iraqis to illegally cross the border at the section with Belarus, as well as their onward transportation, primarily to Germany, but also to the UK.

 

"It was a very hermetic group, consisting mainly of Polish citizens who had international contacts with people who were in Lithuania, in Germany. Within the framework of our operations, the main organiser of this group was detained, people who played an important role in terms of recruiting couriers and drivers, as well as people who were involved in organising financial settlements at the level of the criminal group," said the colonel.

 

He pointed out that the group started its activities in the autumn of last year and quite dynamically exploited the migratory pressure on the Belarusian border section by organising illegal immigration. He explained that the group contacted people wishing to cross the border illegally via instant messaging.

 

"The cost of organising such illegal immigration was initially between €1,000 and €2,000 per person, assuming that such a person would be successfully transported into Germany. Only those persons for whom the smuggling was successfully organised were subject to a group settlement fee," Olejnik pointed out, adding that these settlements took place outside the banking system.

 

"Once the person was in Germany, the courier would withdraw the money and pass it on to other members of the criminal group," - explained the director. As he pointed out, it is estimated that the group could have earned around PLN 400,000 from illegal immigration.

 

"The evidence indicates that the group could have smuggled about 113 people from the Belarusian border to Germany. 45 people, who were couriers, were apprehended by the Border Guard and Police last year. The breakthrough was the detention by the Border Guard in mid-November, of one of the main organisers. Since then, we have seen the group gradually cease to function," concluded the director.