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Lithuanian customs crack international human trafficking ring

VILNIUS – Lithuanian border guards and their foreign colleagues have cracked an international human trafficking ring – the investigation found that the plotters aimed to bring Ukrainians currently in Lithuania to the United Kingdom for forced labor.

Officers of the criminal branch of the State Border Guard Service and the Coast Guard Unit apprehended three Lithuanian and one Ukrainian citizens in the Siauliai and Mazeikiai districts, northern Lithuania, on Monday evening.

According to the press release published on Thursday, the Ukrainian citizen is the main organizer of human trafficking scheme to the United Kingdom. The detained Lithuanians assisted the Ukrainian and delivered the people abroad. The detainees are 41-50 years of age.

Earlier this week, the State Border Guard Service searched homes and other premises owned by the detainees in the Siauliai and Mazeikiai districts, revealing nine Ukrainian citizens.

The border guards believe the group planned to unlawfully transport the Ukrainians abroad and use them for physical labor in slavery. Information from Ukrainian authorities suggest that searches in the country's territory revealed illicit firearms and forged documents, which were possibly used to take people abroad.

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