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Successful Operation in the Field of Cigarettes Smuggling

The Operation “JOKER” was carried out by the Ministry of Interior from Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and the Ministry of Interior of Republic of Croatia, with significant support provided by SELEC. Also Police investigators from Montenegro and Republic of Serbia provided useful information at the beginning of the operation.

In the period January - September 2014, according to the evidences obtained by the investigators during the Operation “JOKER”, the members of an organized crime group smuggled over 350,000 packs of cigarettes and several tons of tobacco, from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Republic of Croatia (over Sava River).

At the beginning of September, the investigators from Banja Luka/ Bosnia and Herzegovina searched 21 locations and arrested 14 persons, suspected of committing several crimes such as: cigarettes smuggling, tax evasion and illicit trade. During the search, the Police seized mobile phones, computers, SIM cards carriers, 10,000 Euro in cash, 3 cars (1 Grand Cherokee and 2 VW Passat), 1 gun CZ 6.35 mm, bigger quantity of different kind of cigarettes, 2.5 tons of  tobacco, 500 kg of cardboard packing for cigarettes and 2 machines for the manufacture of cigarettes.

At the same time, during the operation, the Croatian investigators seized several shipments of cigarettes, based on information provided by the Ministry of Interior of Republic of Srpska’s investigators. 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA HAS BECOME OPERATIONAL PARTNER OF SELEC

BUCHAREST, September 9, 2014 - "The collaborative role the U.S. has played in the development of our organization from the very beginning enabled SELEC to obtain a stronger regional identity, in terms of law enforcement cooperation" stated Mr. Gürbüz Bahadir, Director General of SELEC, on the occasion of the Ceremony for Signing the Cooperation Agreement between SELEC and the United States of America, which took place on 9th of September 2014, in Bucharest, at the Center's premises.

The United States of America has been granted the Operational Partner status with SELEC on 29th of May 2014, during the 8th Session of the SELEC Council.

The purpose of this Agreement is to facilitate the use of the SELEC platform by the United States of America together with the law enforcement agencies of the SELEC Member States in their collective actions to prevent and combat trans-border criminality and provides an effective framework for joint efforts in ensuring regional stability.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, US Department of State, Hoyt B. Yee, commended SELEC for its critical and active contributions to the stability of the region. „SELEC is a cornerstone law enforcement organization that has greatly strengthened U.S. and European cooperation in Southeastern Europe since its founding in 1999”, DAS Hoyt B. Yee stated.

Mr. Bahadir expressed his belief that the Agreement will facilitate maintaining the good cooperation between SELEC and the United States of America and also will reiterate their joint commitment in preventing and combating global and regional threats such as terrorism, money laundering and other forms of serious and organized criminality in order to offer a more secure environment to the citizens.

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11th Regional Meeting of the Heads of Organized Criminality Structures in Southeast Europe

Sinaia/ Romania, 2-5 September 2014 – Mr. Cristian Duţă, SELEC Director for Operations, and Mr. Eliodor Tanislav, Romanian Police Liaison Officer, participated at the 11th  Regional Meeting of the Heads of Organized Criminality in Southeast Europe, held in Sinaia, Romania, on 2nd – 5th of September 2014, organized by the General Inspectorate of Romanian Police – Directorate for Countering Organized Criminality.

The meeting brought together participants from 30 countries, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Public Ministry and Ministry of Justice of Romania, international organizations, internal affairs attaches and liaison officers posted in Romania.

The main theme of the meeting was connected to trans-border organized crime groups and terrorism financing, aiming to provide a platform for exchanging intelligence in cases under investigation, sharing best practices and strengthening the cooperation among the main actors in countering these phenomena in the region.

The event addressed the following topics: organized crime’s role in transatlantic cocaine and Afghanistan heroin; cybercrime and links to terrorism financing; organized crime’s role in the movement of criminal proceeds; money laundering and the associated terrorist threat; international cooperation in combating terrorism financing, money laundering and the flow of migrants with terrorist affiliations to Western Europe; international cooperation in fighting cybercrime; international cooperation in the fight against organized crime – regional perspectives.

Mr. Duţă delivered a comprehensive presentation about the successful functioning of the Center and its activity in the law enforcement area, covering the most sensitive issues related to trans-border organized crime in the Southeast European region, such as drugs and human beings trafficking, smuggling and customs fraud, stolen vehicles, container security, financial and computer crimes, terrorism and environment and nature related crimes.


News and Events

Working Visit

Bucharest, September 9, 2014 – A group of 17 US officers acting in the field of rule of law programs from countries/organizations from the Balkans and EUCOM visited SELEC Headquarters and were welcomed by the SELEC Management (Mr. Gürbüz Bahadir, Director General, Mr. Cristian Duta, Director for Operations, and Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director for Legal and Internal Affairs). The US delegation was accompanied by Ms. Monica Custura, USDOJ/ OPDAT Legal Advisor at SELEC.

The guests were briefed about the activities of the Center and best practice examples of police and customs cooperation in the region, as well as about the activities of the prosecutors’ network SEEPAG. The Liaison Officers at SELEC also attended the meeting for an open dialogue related to law enforcement cooperation, programs and common interests in the region.

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Working Visit

Bucharest, September 2, 2014 – Through the European Judicial Training Network exchange programme, the Italian Prosecutor Giancarlo Ferrucci visited SELEC Headquarters in Bucharest/ Romania, being welcomed by Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, SELEC Director for Legal and Internal Affairs.

The representatives from the Embassy of Italian Republic, Mr. Antonio Perrotta, Advisor to SELEC, and Mr. Ruggero Gianfelici, Liaison Officer, also attended the meeting jointly organized with the High Court of Cassation and Justice of Romania.

SEEPAG Secretariat briefed Mr. Ferrucci about the activities of the prosecutors’ network SEEPAG and its successful functionining under SELEC umbrella, mentioning the benefits of such law enforcement and judicial cooperation in the Southeast European region.


The Ambassador of Montenegro visited SELEC

Bucharest, July 1, 2014 - The Ambassador of Montenegro, Mr. Milan Begovic, visited SELEC premises, being welcomed by Mr. Gürbüz Bahadir, Director General of SELEC.

The discussions focused on the Center’s role in the region and its activities in the law enforcement field and the practiced ways of police and customs cooperation in the region. There had been emphasized the contribution of Montenegro to the Center’s activities, including discussions on future enhancement of this cooperation.



21st Meeting of Mirage Task Force on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration

Description: Bucharest, June 19, 2014 – The representatives of the law enforcement authorities from 10 SELEC Member States and partners (EUBAM, the Netherlands, RCC, Spain, UK and USA) participated at the 21st Meeting of Mirage Task Force, organized at SELEC premises on 19th of June 2014. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Cristian Duta, Director for Operations of SELEC.

During the meeting, the 2013 Regional Evaluation Report on Trafficking in Human Beings and Migrant Smuggling was presented and discussed. At the same time, there were presented some successful joint investigations carried out last year in this field:

“RADIO” was developed by Hungary and Republic of Serbia, targeting an organized crime group dealing with migrants smuggling from the territory of Kosovo*, Syria and other African and Asian countries to Hungary, through the green border, and further to other EU countries.
This joint investigation was awarded a second price for the second semester of 2013 by SELEC Bi-annual Awards Committee.

“SOUTH” was a case in the field of migrants smuggling developed by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic of Croatia, which was awarded a second price for the first semester of 2013 by SELEC Bi-annual Awards Committee.

“ESZEK/KASTEL” was initiated in October 2012 and involved Republic of Croatia and Hungary, targeting an organized crime group dealing with the facilitation of illegal migration along the Hungarian and Croatian border. This joint investigation was awarded a second price for the first semester of 2013 by SELEC Bi-annual Awards Committee.

“HIT” started in December 2012 between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Serbia targeting an organized crime group dealing with migrants smuggling. SELEC Bi-annual Awards Committee awarded a third price for the first semester of 2013 to this joint investigation.



The Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina visited SELEC

Bucharest, June 13, 2014 - Mr. Dusko Kovacevic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Bucharest, paid a courtesy visit to SELEC premises being welcomed by Mr. Gürbüz Bahadir, Director General of SELEC.










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