Serbia dismantles human trafficking ring

BELGRADE (AFP) - Serbian police took down a human trafficking ring on Wednesday with the arrest of 46 illegal immigrants from Syria and Afghanistan who were likely bound for the European Union.

Officers also took into custody three local smugglers helping the immigrants, who had entered Serbia illegally from Bulgaria, the government said in a statement.

Police found the immigrants in two vans with German licence plates on a road near the southeastern town of Knjazevac, but didn't elaborate.

Serbia is not part of the EU though it shares land borders with three members of the 28-nation bloc - Romania, Hungary and Croatia. However, entering Romania from Bulgaria is difficult since the Danube river makes up most of the border between the nations.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by criminals to smuggle people, weapons and drugs to western Europe.