Crime: Unprecedented operation against “most dangerous networks” in the EU

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crime An unprecedented operation against “one of the most dangerous networks” in the EU

Authorities from eleven countries, together with Europol and Eurojust, arrested 44 people in an operation against drug trafficking and money laundering.

Europol headquarters in The Hague (Netherlands).

AFP

An unprecedented international operation involving authorities from 11 countries has arrested 44 suspects in a criminal network considered one of the most dangerous in the European Union, Europol and Eurojust said on Friday.

“Several criminal organizations work together to carry out large-scale polycriminal activities inside and outside the EU,” European agencies in The Hague said in a joint statement. These include drug trafficking and money laundering, they said.

Hundreds of searches

During Tuesday’s operation, coordinated by Europol and Eurojust, around 100 searches were conducted across Europe targeting both the leaders of these criminal organizations and their associates. The network, believed to be linked to major drug trafficking organizations outside the EU, operated in Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Germany and Slovakia.

“The scale of drug trafficking attributable to the network is enormous, with operations reported on three continents,” Europol and Eurojust said. Large quantities of cocaine, hashish, cannabis and methamphetamine were seized.

“Extremely flexible, these criminals quickly adapted to new methods of drug trafficking in an attempt to evade law enforcement,” reports the European agencies. In particular, drug shipments were well-hidden in boxes, on ships and trucks.

“Like a Business”

“Criminal networks are structured like a business, with various criminal groups and intermediaries converging across borders to control the entire chain of drug trafficking – from organizing large drug shipments to distribution in Europe and beyond,” said Europol and Eurojust.

Cooperation between countries and European agencies has made it possible to follow a common strategy to prepare for the final phase of the investigations and “bring down the whole network”, they welcomed.

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(AFP)

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