An «unprecedented» international operation in 11 countries has resulted in the arrest of 44 suspected members of one of Europe’s most dangerous criminal networks, the European Union Agency for Police Cooperation (Europol) announced Friday.
Preliminary investigations, carried out in eight countries, revealed that several criminal organizations were working together to carry out «large-scale polycriminal activities inside and outside the European Union».
The crimes investigated included «trafficking in drugs such as cocaine, hashish and cannabis and methamphetamine, money laundering and illicit enrichment, among others,» according to the joint note from Europol and the European Union’s agency in charge of strengthening judicial cooperation, Eurojust.
Finally, last Tuesday, November 22, a total of 94 searches were carried out across Europe, targeting both the leaders of these criminal organizations and their associates in this network, which operated in Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Poland, France, Germany and Slovakia.
«The criminal network was structured as a business, with different criminal groups and intermediaries working together across borders to control the entire drug trafficking chain, from organizing large shipments of drugs to distribution throughout Europe and beyond,» according to the statement.
The highest number of arrests have occurred in the Czech Republic and France, with nine arrests in each country, followed by Lithuania and Slovakia (7 arrests each), Latvia (5), Poland (2), Norway (2), Germany (1), Spain (1), and the United States (1).