Croatian police break migrant smuggling gang, arrest 7

Croatian police say they have broken a gang that smuggled more than 100 migrants from Bosnia into Croatia and on toward Western Europe, and charged nine suspected members

ZAGREB, Croatia -- Croatian police have broken a gang that smuggled more than 100 migrants from Bosnia into Croatia and on toward Western Europe, and charged nine suspected members, officials said Thursday.

The suspects are eight Croatian nationals and a Serb, police said in a statement. Seven have been arrested and two remain at large.

The suspects allegedly conspired to enable illegal entry for the migrants from Bosnia into Croatia and on toward other European Union nations, police said.

Thousands of migrants remain stuck in the Balkans while trying to reach wealthy EU countries. Migrants enter Croatia from Bosnia and Serbia before moving further west, and rights groups have repeatedly accused Croatian police of mistreating people caught at the border and illegally sending them back.

The Croatian police statement said officers, who cooperated with Bosnian police, confiscated nearly 80,000 euros ($93,000) in cash during the search of various locations and cars linked to the suspects in the investigation.

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