Joint Eurojust - Europol press release
The Hague, 09 December 2016
On 6 and 7 December 2016, judicial and law enforcement authorities from France and the Netherlands, supported on-the-spot by Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre, took action against an organised crime network suspected of having smuggled some 500 migrants from Somalia to different destination countries in the European Union along secondary routes.
Eight suspects were arrested in France (Strasbourg, Modane, Paris) and one in the Netherlands (Geleen) as a result of this joint action.
This criminal network, composed of Somali nationals residing mainly in France and Italy, was responsible for smuggling Somali migrants from Italy to different Member States, including Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and other northern European countries. Some of these migrants were smuggled out of Italy by means of car, train or coach, while others were smuggled directly from Africa to Europe by flights transiting via Asian countries using fake travel documents.
This operation was preceded by extensive and complex criminal investigations supported by Europol, which coordinated the law enforcement authorities in France and the Netherlands.
Italian judicial authorities carried out extensive investigations, with several suspects belonging to this network arrested earlier this year. Eurojust held two coordination meetings over the past year, and was instrumental in facilitating the European Arrest Warrant that led to the arrest of one of the key suspects in the Netherlands this week. This cooperation, combined with international telephone interceptions managed by France, led to the identification in Strasbourg of several network logistics experts.
During this week’s action days, Europol provided on-the-spot support by performing real-time analysis and cross-checks against its databases of the information and telecommunication data that were provided by the participating Member States.
For questions relating to the involvement of Member States, please contact the relevant national authorities.