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International cooperation delivers major hit to migrant smuggling network

The Hague, 24 November 2015

​Judicial and law enforcement authorities from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany and the UK, supported by Eurojust and Europol, took action early today against a Europe-wide organised crime group (OCG), composed primarily of Czech and Albanian nationals.

The OCG is suspected of arranging for mainly Albanian nationals to be brought into the European Union in breach of immigration law. The OCG is also suspected of money laundering.

The OCG, operating since late 2013, transported illegal immigrants to the UK via two routes: either from Turkey or Greece to Belgium and then on to the UK in vehicles driven by Czech and Slovak drivers, or from Bulgaria or Serbia to the Czech Republic, and then via Germany to the UK via ferry or train. Over 100 illegal immigrants were brought into the European Union over this period.

A joint investigation team (JIT) was established between the involved Member States, with the participation of Eurojust and Europol. Eurojust negotiated and drafted the JIT agreement and provided partial funding for the JIT, which enabled several meetings to take place between the JIT members in the concerned Member States.

Europol provided support to the investigation from its early stages, by delivering extensive analytical reports to the investigators, and hosting four operational meetings at its headquarters in The Hague.

Eurojust provided legal advice and support to the investigation on a range of judicial cooperation issues, and hosted four coordination meetings at its headquarters in The Hague. 

Europol supported the action day by providing dedicated analysts to the operation and the deployment of its mobile office in the UK. Information gathered during the operation was analysed and exchanged in real time and immediately cross-matched. A coordination centre was held at Eurojust, with support provided by Eurojust’s National Desks and Case Analysis Unit.

Today’s action involved:
Four EU Member States: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, and the United Kingdom
Number of police/law enforcement officers: 245
Number of arrests: 8
European Arrest Warrants executed: 6
Number of house searches: 10 
Number of witnesses/suspects interviewed: 24

 

For questions relating to the involvement of Member States, please contact the relevant national authorities

 

For interviews and further information regarding Eurojust's activities, please contact:

EUROJUST
Ulf Bergström
Head of Communications and External Relations
Tel: +31 70 412 5508
E-mail: media@eurojust.europa.eu

For all Eurojust press releases, please see www.eurojust.europa.eu (Press centre)

 

EUROPOL
Europol Corporate Communications

Tel: +31 70 302 5001

G14@europol.europa.eu

 

Related links
Coordination meetings
Coordination centres
Joint investigation teams 
Eurojust infographic