Newsbriefing – Week of 3 June

Spanish Police arrested eleven suspects after custom officers seized one tonne of cocaine concealed inside fake stones. The organised crime group was working with the stone industry to smuggle large quantities of drugs from Colombia into the port of Barcelona, to be later distributed throughout Europe.

Belgian authorities dismantled a major illegal cigarette factory and seized ten tonnes of tobacco and 25 million cigarettes in a joint operation with Europol. Professional cigarette manufacturing machines and various cigarette-making materials were also seized.

Interpol made a public appeal to boost its efforts in the hunt for seven of the world’s most wanted environmental criminals. The suspects’ alleged crimes include ivory smuggling, protected species trafficking and illegal logging. This rare appeal by the international police coincided with World Environment Day and renewed efforts against environmental crimes by the organisation.

Italian and Romanian authorities brought down an organised crime group involved in human trafficking for prostitution and sexual exploitation. It is the first time such an investigation is triggered by a Eurojust formal joint request, a mechanism usually used to address conflict of jurisdiction.

A fallen tree has led to the discovery of one of the Netherlands’ largest cocaine lab ever discovered. Clean up workers discovered the illicit operation where cocaine was being purified. A large quantity of drugs was discovered.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) launched the European Drug Report 2019, presenting the latest trends in drug trafficking. The report highlights that cocaine seizures have more than doubled from 2016 to 2017, reaching 140 tonnes.