An international law enforcement operation coordinated by Europol has resulted in the arrest of 37 members of a highly violent criminal cell from the Western Balkans.
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Led by a national of Bosnia & Herzegovina, this powerful criminal cell was mainly involved in the large-scale trafficking of drugs and firearms across Europe.
On 24 May, a series of raids were carried out simultaneously across Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Germany against the members of this gang.
These actions were coordinated from a command post in Zagreb, Croatia, with the support of Europol officers deployed on-the-ground.
A total of 37 suspects were arrested over the course of the investigation, including the gang’s ringleader – a national from Bosnia & Herzegovina considered as a high-value target by Europol and currently serving a 4 year-long prison sentence in Italy.
Out of these 37 suspects, 15 were arrested as a result of the action day this week.
The investigators were able to uncover how this individual continued to orchestrate his gang’s criminal activities from his prison cell.
From there, he is believed to have regularly given orders and instructions to his subordinates on matters related to the trafficking of drugs and firearms.
The premises searched during the action day include a prison cell in Belgium, a garage in the Netherlands which was used to stash cocaine, and several premises in Croatia, Germany, Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina where drugs, firearms and explosives were being held.
• Austria: Criminal Intelligence Service Austria (Bundeskriminalamt)
• Belgium: Federal Judicial Police Antwerp
• Bosnia & Herzegovina: Federal Police - Department for Combatting Drugs Abuse Sarajevo
• Croatia: General Police Directorate (Drug Enforcement Department) and Zagrebačka County Police Administration and State Attorney - Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime
• Germany: ZKA - Customs Investigation Office Munich
• The Netherlands: Police Rotterdam
• Slovenia: Criminal Police Directorate (Illicit Drugs Section within Organised Crime Division) and
• Police Directorate Ljubljana
• United States: US DEA Office Zagreb
• Europol: Drugs Unit ■
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