ROME – The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):
Serbian police say they have arrested eight suspected people-smugglers as part of efforts to curb illegal transfer of migrants toward Western Europe.
Police said Monday the group smuggled several dozens of migrants from Serbia over the border to Hungary and then to Austria, earning between 1,100 and 1,200 euros per migrant.
The smuggling of migrants through the Balkans has been on the rise since nations shut their borders in March, closing down the previous refugee route toward Western Europe.
More than 1 million people entered Europe last year and nations have been closing their borders to curb the influx.
Italy's interior minister says police and prosecutors have cracked a transnational network dedicated to migrant trafficking.
Palermo-based authorities have detained 38 people suspected of being in the ring: 25 Eritreans, 12 Ethiopians and one Italian.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano says the authorities dealt "a harsh blow" to the criminal network, which used Rome for its financial transactions hub.
Palermo police say in a statement that an Eritrean man who was arrested in 2014 collaborated with authorities, providing for the first time "a complete reconstruction of criminal activities" of migrant trafficking involving operations both in North Africa and Italy.