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February 25, 2023

3 Europol Employees to Help Investigation Into Death of 18

The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, Europol, has sent three of its employees to Bulgaria to participate in the investigation of the case of 18 dead migrants found in a truck near the village of Lokorsko.

According to Novinite, two of Europol’s officers were sent to help the border police and an analyst was sent at the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

On Friday, February 17, Bulgarian authorities revealed that 18 Afghan migrants were found dead inside a truck dumped on a dirt road near Sofia.

According to the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, this truck was carrying about 40 immigrants. The survivors were then taken to nearby hospitals for emergency treatment.

In a bid to find out what exactly had happened, the authorities in Bulgaria turned to Europol, asking for help in the investigation.

Whereas regarding Bulgaria’s Schengen Accession, European Commissioner Anitta Hipper pointed out that currently, there is no risk that the Commission will change its position on Bulgaria’s entry into the Schengen area.

In October last year, the European Parliament examined the possibility of accepting Bulgaria and Romania in the borderless Schengen area.

The EU Parliament also stated that for many years the accession of these two Balkan countries to the borderless Schengen area had been discussed; however, both of them need to take more concrete steps in order to join the area.

Moreover, last month, Europol arrested 92 people accused of smuggling migrants from Turkey through Bulgaria to Serbia and then to Western Europe. Bulgarian authorities also checked 624 locations, 4,202 vehicles, and 7,019 people.

As Europol explains, the smugglers used vehicles such as vans, campers, and buses for transport, while the total prices of smuggling services in larger groups were between €2,000 and €3,000 per person.

To prevent illegal entry into the country, Bulgaria decided to erect a barbed wire fence along its 161-mile border with Turkey.

This is not the first time that groups of immigrants have been found dead in abandoned vehicles.

In October 2019, British Police found 39 bodies in a refrigerated container that had been transported to England. In this regard, the Police said that all the victims were people ranging in age from 15 to 44 years old and had come from poor villages in Vietnam.