Operation Archimedes

On 23 September, EUROPOL successfully concluded Operation Archimedes, a nine-day counter-organised crime intervention that focused across Europe and into source countries. All 28 EU member states took part, with Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Australia, Colombia and the US also contributing. With 20,000 law enforcement officers involved, Archimedes was the largest joint operation held in the EU.

Nine types of criminal activity were pursued – the facilitation of illegal immigration, trafficking in human beings, counterfeit goods, excise and missing trader intra-community (MTIC) fraud, trafficking in synthetic drugs, cocaine and heroin, illicit firearms trafficking, organised property crime, and cybercrime. The operation resulted in the arrest of 1,150 criminals, the seizure of 599kgs of cocaine, 200kgs of heroin, 1.9 tons of cannabis, and 1.5 million fake cigarettes. Over €1 million in cash was confiscated, 21 luxury cars were seized and 200 potential victims of human trafficking, 30 of which were under 18, were rescued.

These successes relied on the cooperation between EU member states and other participating countries. Results related to cocaine trafficking in particular relied upon the involvement of Colombia. More than half of the confiscated cocaine packages were seized within Colombia, and 13 people were arrested in the country.

Operation Archimedes has had a significant impact on organised criminal activity, as it uncovered new trafficking routes, criminal trends, and links between criminal gangs. These discoveries are expected to affect the operational effectiveness of European criminal networks for years to come.