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23 European & West Balkan States Crack Down on Smuggling & Trafficking Activities

During a joint action carried out by 23 European and Western Balkan countries along with Interpol, Frontex and Europol, multiple forms of organized property crime and fraud were successfully targeted in November.

Through a press release on November 10, Europol revealed that during Operation Mobile Four, a large-scale international operation led by Greece, Germany, Poland, Frontex and Europol, 1,000 irregular migrants were smuggled. in the European Union.

The discovery of illegal immigrants also led to the arrest of 31 smugglers who were facilitating the irregular movement, reports.

The activities of police officers and border guards from 23 European and Western Balkan countries within two weeks of the procedures led to the seizure of 518 stolen vehicles.

“Within two weeks of law enforcement actions, officers pursued criminal activity on multiple fronts, conducting vehicle inspections, border searches, and database analysis. The main focus was on stolen vehicles, vehicle parts, and migrant smuggling, with investigators also targeting drug and firearms trafficking. and endangered species,” said a Europol statement.

During these actions, officers also recovered several luxury cars from Western Europe, which were found in the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia. Aside from seizing and recovering cars, the officers also recovered four stolen boats.

Authorities involved in Operation Mobile Four have noticed a growing trend of smuggling buses, trucks, agricultural machinery and other holiday vehicles such as campers, meaning that smuggling migrants isn’t the only problem.

At the same time, in the process, officers also raided chop stores, dismantling stolen vehicles and facilitating the smuggling of spare parts. In addition, roadside checks were conducted, which resulted in the theft of 400 vehicle parts and 14 false identification cards and other vehicle documents.

Countries that took part in these two-week measures include Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

Last month, Europol also supported the Spanish Civil Guard and the French National Gendarmerie in dismantling the organized crime group involved in migrant smuggling. During this operation, which took place on 14-15 October, the police arrested seven people, including the leaders of the group.

Previously, MEPs agreed to increase Europol’s capacity to support the fight against crime and to tighten border controls in EU member states. The European Police Agency can now access the Schengen Information System and share necessary information with other agencies in order to detect and combat illegal acts.

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