A total of 44 persons suspected of being part of one of the most dangerous criminal networks in the EU have been arrested in an international operation involving 11 countries, the European police service, Europol, which supported the operation, reported on Friday.
The organisations involved in the network worked together to carry out various large-scale criminal activities inside and outside the European Union. These included drug trafficking, money laundering and illicit enrichment. On Tuesday, 94 searches were conducted across Europe on the leaders of the organisations and their accomplices.
The criminal network was active in Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Germany and Slovakia.
“The scale of drug trafficking alone attributed to this criminal network is massive, with activities reported across three continents,” Europol stated.
The network had links to major drug organisations outside the EU
Large quantities of illegal drugs were seized, including cocaine, hashish, cannabis and methamphetamine.
According to investigators, the criminal network had links to major drug organisations outside the EU. The criminals adapted quickly to escape the police. Drug shipments were found in ships and trucks, often in hidden compartments.
The criminal network was structured like a business, with different groups and intermediaries working together across borders to control the entire drug-trafficking chain – from arranging huge shipments of drugs to distribution across Europe and beyond, Europol said.
“This action day is the result of exemplary and outstanding cooperation between judiciary and law enforcement, with the pro-active support of both Eurojust and Europol,” commented Margarita Sniutyte-Daugeliene, vice president of the Eurojust justice organisation.