Latvian border guards detained 37 illegal immigrants and nine human smugglers, including six Estonian citizens, in the eastern part of the country last weekend.
Two groups of Vietnamese citizens, each of which consisted of 10 people, were stopped in the Alūksne and Krustpils regions on Friday and a third group consisting of 17 Vietnamese citizens was nabbed in the Kārsava region on Saturday, reported Latvian news agency LETA.
Of the nine people smugglers detained together with the illegal immigrants, six were citizens of Estonia and three of Russia.
According to Latvian border guards, Estonian nationals' participation in the smuggling of people from Russia into the EU is on the rise and traffickers have been seeking new routes to smuggle migrants across the Russian-Estonian and Russian-Latvian borders.
Latvian authorities have launched a criminal investigation of the matter.
This year, a total of more than 300 illegal immigrants have been deported from Latvia.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla