Newsbriefing – Week of 8 July

Joint INTERPOL-WCO operation against wildlife trafficking resulted in the seizure of large quantities of protected flora and fauna in 109 countries. The intelligence-led operation identified trafficking routes and crime hotspots enabling police and customs to seize protected products ranging from live animals to clothing and traditional medicine. In total, nearly 600 suspects were arrested, and 1.900 items were seized.

Joint international operation with Europol’s coordination dismantled an illicit tobacco factory in Bulgaria. The factory produced around 50 million cigarettes a month. 16 million cigarettes were seized, and 12 suspects arrested.

Europol opened its first of three planned liaison office in the Western Balkans, in Tirana, Albania. The other two will be in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. The aim is to enhance further cooperation with local law enforcement in the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime. The Balkan route is the main heroin trafficking corridor linking Afghanistan to Western European markets.

Italian-led international operation seized 3.8 million fake drugs and doping substances. Authorities closed nine illegal labs and conducted nearly 1.400 doping checks during sports events. Overall, 17 organised crime groups were dismantled in 33 countries.

Eurojust operation took down an organised crime group involved in sexual exploitation and money laundering active in Finland, Spain and Sweden. 1.5 million euros worth of criminal profits were frozen in foreign accounts.