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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 25.06.2019, 23:21

Chechens have taken leading role in people smuggling activities - Border Guard

BC, Riga, 08.03.2017.Print version
Criminal groups made up of persons with Chechen ethnicity have taken the leading role in establishing illegal people smuggling networks on the Latvia-Russia border, the State Border Guard said in a report submitted to the Saeima's Defense, Interior Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee citing LETA.

These Chechens are Russian citizens and persons with refugee status in the EU. In 2016, 60% of those detained for illegal people smuggling in Latvia were of Chechen ethnicity, while in 2015 - just 28%. A total of 31 Chechens were detained for smuggling Vietnamese citizens into Latvia last year.

Overall, 376 persons were detained for illegally crossing into Latvia last year, compared to 476 in 2015. Most of those detained were Vietnamese, Russian and Indian citizens. Most were also detained after illegally crossing the Russian border into Latvia.

A total of 52 people smugglers were also detained in Latvia last year - most of them Russian citizens.

Last year, there was an increase in the number of illegal border crossing from Russian territory, but a reduction of illegal border crossings from the territory of Belarus.

State Border Guard chief Normunds Garbars told LETA that they are not speaking about some sort of ''Chechen mafia'', but it is clear that persons with Chechen ethnicity are active in the criminal world in Russia and other areas of the world, including Latvia, where they are involved in people smuggling.

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