STA, 30 July 2020 - Four citizens of Belgium, Bulgaria and the Netherlands face charges after they have been found helping a total of 46 migrants enter Slovenia illegally in the area covered by the Murska Sobota Police Department in the north-east of Slovenia.
According to a press release issued by the department on Thursday, two Belgian citizens and a Bulgarian were apprehended on Tuesday, 21 July after helping 17 migrants cross the border illegally.
A day later, a Dutch national was apprehended along with a group of 29 migrants he had assisted to enter the country illegally.
All four alleged smugglers have been remanded in custody by an investigating judge and their vehicles have been seized by the police.
Meanwhile, the Maribor Police Department has reported that four illegal migrants were found hidden away in two lorries at two border crossings with Croatia on Wednesday evening.
A Palestinian was discovered hidden in an articulated vehicle with Turkish licence plates at the Gruškovje crossing after two Syrians and an Afghan were found on a lorry with Slovenian licence plates at Središče ob Dravi.
The Palestinian has been returned to the Croatian authorities, while the Croatian police took over the procedure for the two Syrians and the Afghan because the two police forces conduct joint border checks at Središče ob Dravi.
Slovenian police handled 4,993 illegal border crossing attempts from January to the end of June, a decrease of 12.4% compared with the same period last year, a fall blamed on the pandemic lockdown and border restrictions.
The cases were up in May to 903 and surged to 1,689 in June, which compares to 1,200 in the same peak month last year.