Early Tuesday morning in cooperation with their counterparts in the Polotsk district on the Belarus side, not far from the Zilupe-Ezernieki road, Latvian Border Guard patrols discovered and detained several persons found to have illegally crossed over the frontier.
One of the men showed a Tajikistan passport while another presented a Vietnamese passport as identification. The remaining three claimed to be Vietnamese but produced no identifying documents.
Involving additional officers and a service helicopter, a search of the surrounding border area was conducted, revealing a Latvian citizen born in 1983 hiding out after having been involved in the human trafficking attempt.
A criminal investigation has been launched into the apparent case of organized human trafficking across state borders.
This was the second catch of an illegal migrant group from Vietnam in as many days.
Meanwhile, Myria Vassiliadou, the EU's Anti-Trafficking Coordinator on Wednesday during the first meeting of the board of the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) in Riga pointed to problems in the situation regarding human trafficking in the EU countries.
She cited a European Commission report saying that in 2010-12 there had been 30,136 human trafficking victims registered in the whole of the EU, but "there are many representatives from the law enforcement authorities present who are aware that in reality these numbers are bigger".
Vassiliadou said that two-thirds of the registered victims are EU citizens. "According to estimates, also two-thirds of the criminals involved in human trafficking are EU citizens," she said.
The official noted that human trafficking victims come from different countries -- from Romania, Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands and others in the EU, as well as Brazil, China, Vietnam, and Russia, which are outside the EU.