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Successful operation against Albanian international organised crime network

Eurojust and Europol logos

​The Hague, 23 October 2012

With the support of Eurojust and Europol, 48 members of an Albanian-speaking organised crime network were arrested on 16 October in the region of Mulhouse, France, during a simultaneous operation, coordinating 400 police officers, investigators and prosecutors from several European law enforcement agencies and prosecution offices.

The suspects were operating in Germany, France and Switzerland and active in trafficking heroin and cocaine, illegal immigration and the use of counterfeit documents.

The investigations commenced two years ago, targeting criminals operating mainly in the “three borders area” adjoining Germany, France and Switzerland.

The case was handled by the French National Border Police (PAF) and the German National Criminal Police, with the support of Eurojust and Europol, working together in a Joint Investigation Team.

At Eurojust, two coordination meetings were held on this case, followed in early 2012 by the signing of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) agreement. The JIT was funded by Eurojust for approximately € 52.000. Eurojust also supported the successful management of the case with the assistance of its Case Analysis Unit.

Europol provided continuous support to the French, German and Swiss law enforcement authorities by facilitating the exchange of operational information. During the operation, the Europol mobile office was deployed, giving real-time support with simultaneous cross-matching and tailored intelligence analysis based on the investigators’ needs.

Simultaneous arrests were carried out on 16 October by 400 police officers from France, Germany and Switzerland. Cocaine and heroin were discovered during searches of apartments, automobiles and hotel rooms during the operation. French police officers also discovered a hidden storage area in a forest only a few kilometres from the apartment of one of the criminals.

In total, 9 kg of cocaine and heroin and 50 kg of cutting agent were seized in France and 60 gr of heroin and 2 kg of cutting agent were seized in Switzerland. In addition, € 25.000 and CHF 19.000 in cash were seized, together with luxury automobiles (Audi, BMW, Jaguar).

In January 2012, three members of the Albanian-speaking criminal network were arrested in this area with 65 kg of cutting agent and 700 gr of heroin.

The meticulous investigations, based on more than one hundred interceptions and forensic work, identified a highly structured network, with organisers, couriers and dealers. To facilitate their drug trafficking, the group had also been exploiting asylum seekers and Albanian nationals who were used as couriers and drug dealers.

After the operation, Mr Nicolas Chareyre, Assistant to the National Member for France, commented: “In this case, Eurojust and Europol worked hand in hand for two years, offering to investigators and judges of Member States and third States their operational and financial support and analytical expertise. This very successful case is a good example of the complementarity of both agencies in the fight against organised crime networks.”

For more information, please contact:

Mr Joannes THUY, Spokesperson - Head of Press & PR Service
EUROJUST - Maanweg 174, 2516 AB, The Hague, the Netherlands
Tel +31 70 412 5508
E-mail: jthuy[at]eurojust.europa.eu

Mr Søren Kragh PEDERSEN, Chief of Media and Public Relations
Corporate Communications, EUROPOL
Tel +31 70 302 5001