Over 60,000 illegal migrants have passed through Bosnia and Herzegovina since the beginning of 2018 on their way to western Europe, increasing the number of human smuggling cases, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) reported on Thursday.
Referring to the data of the Bosnian Border Police, BIRN states that there were 80 cases of migrant smuggling in 2019 and 70 in 2018.
Last year criminal complaints were filed against 120 people because of that. Among them were 22 foreigners, nine of them Serbian citizens, states BIRN.
Based on those complaints, the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina indicted 46 people, ten fewer than in 2018.
Forty-seven people accused in the last two years were found guilty.
Most of the defendants pleaded guilty so the sentences ranged from suspended sentences to three years in prison.
The longest sentence was pronounced against Pakistani national Usman-Ali Maqsood-Ahmed, the organiser of one smuggling group, who was also fined a little less than €4,000.
In 2018 this group smuggled at least 46 nationals of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and India, which earned them at least 35 thousand euros.
Maqsood-Ahmed became a human smuggler by falsely introducing himself as a migrant and offering those ready to pay him to transfer them across Bosnia to the EU border.