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Visit of the Ambassador of Republic of Bulgaria

Bucharest, February 7th, 2017 - The Ambassador of Republic of Bulgaria in Bucharest, H.E. Mr. Todor Ivanov Churov, visited today the SELEC Headquarters, being welcomed by Mr. Toni Jakimovski, Director General of SELEC, and Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director for Legal and Internal Affairs.

The key activities of SELEC and SEEPAG were presented, being mentioned the exchange of information and joint investigations’ increasing trend during the years. During the meeting it was also highlighted the Bulgarian contribution to the fulfillment of SELEC mission of countering trans-border organized crime in Southeast Europe.

The Director General of SELEC visited Europol

Bucharest, January 25th 2017 - The Director General of SELEC, Mr. Toni Jakimovski, visited Europol Headquarters where he met the Director of Europol, Mr. Rob Wainwright and the Deputy Director of the Operations Department, Mr. Wil van Gemert.

The discussions focused on strengthening and further enhancing the cooperation between SELEC and Europol, both parties recognizing the necessity and importance of joining efforts in the fight against transnational organized crime.

SELEC and Europol signed a Letter of Intent in 2010 with a view of developing, within the field of their competences, closer regional law enforcement cooperation.

Connections with terrorist groups identified during Turkish Operation KABATAS, supported by SELEC, targeting smuggling of migrants

Following notifications received through the SELEC channel and several operational meetings supported by SELEC, on 29 September 2016, the Turkish National Police initiated an investigation codenamed KABATAS against an organized criminal group, based in Istanbul, dealing with migrants’ smuggling.

This transnational organized criminal group consisted in smaller entities, with various modus operandi, migrants being smuggled either across land borders or by plane, while bribing airport officers, and using forged travel documents or a facilitator. Partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Croatia, Montenegro, Romania, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Slovenia, linked to this organized criminal group, supported the illegal border crossing of Turkish nationals along the Western Balkans countries, taking advantage of the free visa regime applicable in these countries, in order to reach Western Europe.

168 migrants and 11 persons suspected for “producing or arranging forged documents” and for “migrant smuggling” were apprehended during the 32 actions that took place at national and international level. Turkish authorities cooperated in this investigation with the police departments of Republic of Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Croatia, Federal Republic of Germany, Italian Republic, Hungary, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Romania, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Slovenia. Most of the detained Turkish migrants were wanted, as being involved in various factions of idiosyncratic terrorist organizations.

On 24 December 2016 at 6.00 a.m. a simultaneous operation was conducted in three Turkish towns  and led to the arrest of 35 persons involved in the smuggling of migrants. Following house searches, several firearms, close to 100 passports and materials used for producing fraudulent documents were seized.

Currently, 12 fugitive suspects are being searched in the Republic of Turkey and investigations for dismantling the transnational links of the criminal migrants ‘smuggling organization are still ongoing in the other involved countries.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

The Regional Director of USA Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training visited SELEC

Bucharest, December 16th, 2016 - The SELEC Management received today the visit of Mr. Paul Vaky, Regional Director, Central and Eastern Europe Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) accompanied by Ms. Monica Custura, Legal Advisor, Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator (IPLEC).

During the meeting, SELEC and SEEPAG missions, objectives, way of functioning were presented, being highlighted the role and importance of SELEC and SEEPAG in the fight against trans- border organized crime in the Southeast European region. The possibilities of enhancing the cooperation between the parties was also the topic of the discussions.

Mr. Toni Jakimovski, SELEC Director General, offered Mr. Vaky a plaquette of appreciation for the successful long term partnership between SELEC and USA.

80 kg of heroin seized during a joint investigation supported by SELEC

On December 3rd, 2016, the Bulgarian and Turkish law enforcement authorities succesfully suppressed an organized criminal group dealing with drug trafficking from Republic of Turkey, via Republic of Bulgaria,to Western Europe countries.

The joint investigation codenamed Morning Star 2 resulted in the seizure of 80 kg of heroin hidden in two suitcases in a trunk of a vehicle. Following this operation, two traffickers were apprehended,currently being under arrest.

The swift exchange of information and international coordination was facilitated by SELEC, which provided support during the whole investigation.

The case is still ongoing. (read more)

SELEC awards Romanian Law Enforcement officers

Bucharest, December 7th 2016 - The ceremony for granting SELEC awards to the Romanian Law Enforcement officers was held today at the Headquarters of the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police in the presence of SELEC Director for Operations, Mr. Romulus Ungureanu, the General Inspector of the Romanian Police, Mr. Bogdan Despescu and the Deputy of the General Inspector, Mr. Virgil Spiridon.

The Director for Operations of SELEC together with the General Inspector offered the certificates of honor and appreciation for the joint investigations codenamed RED COAST, MONEY MULLES and LIGHTNING supported by SELEC during the first half of 2016, through the swift exchange of information and organization of operational meetings.

The Operation “Money Mulles”, in the field of cybercrime, was a joint investigation involving the competent authorities from Republic of Moldova and Romania, which led to the prosecution of 47 suspects and seizure of computer systems, data storage devices, bank documents and false Romanian ID documents.

Operation “Red Coast” targeted dismantling an organized criminal group dealing with credit card frauds. The joint operation conducted by the law enforcement authorities from Romania and Republic of Bulgaria resulted in the arrest of 10 persons and seizure of 32 electronic skimming devices, 4 laptops, 12 mobile phones, payment cards, money, 3 vehicles.

SELEC also provided support to the competent authorities of Republic of Bulgaria and Romania that conducted a joint investigation targeting to identify the Romanian perpetrators suspected of committing fraud and robbery offences on the territory of Republic of Bulgaria. A Special diploma was granted for this Operation codenamed “Lightning” that was finalized in only two action days following a swift exchange of information through SELEC.

SELEC awards bi-annually the successful operations conducted by the law enforcement authorities of its Member States as an appreciation for the excellent results obtained through the joint investigations accomplished through SELEC.

The outcome of the project “Countering Trafficking in Persons” presented during the Priority Area 11 Steering Group meeting

During 22-23 November 2016, the XI Meeting of the Steering Group of the Priority area 11 of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region was held in Munich. The agenda of the event was focused on briefing of the finalized projects and initiatives, and presentation of the ongoing activities within Priority Area 11 “Security”.

Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director for Legal and Internal Affairs, as Member of the Steering Committee, presented the results of two of the activities developed with EUSDR support, namely the “Workshop on exploring the possibilities for cooperation between customs and police authorities in drug trafficking” and the project “Countering Trafficking in Persons” developed in 2016 within START 2nd call programme.

The Priority Area Coordinator announced that SELEC’s project “Countering Trafficking in Persons” was one of the five most successfully implemented projects out of 48 projects developed within EUSDR, being considered as a very good example of efficient cooperation and significant results.

Operational meeting on Terrorist Groups organized by SELEC with the support of Turkish authorities

On 23 November 2016, an operational meeting of the Anti - Terrorism Task Force’ Subgroup on Terrorist Groups was held in Istanbul/ Republic of Turkey, with the participation of experts specialized in countering terrorism and terrorist organizations, from SELEC Member States.

The event was opened by Mr. Murat Caliskan, Anti -Terrorism Task Force Manager, made an overview of the current situation in the SELEC Member States and underlined the continuous support provided by SELEC to the law enforcement authorities.

During the meeting the participants presented national experiences and challenges in countering terrorism and fighting terrorist organizations, shared success stories, challenges, lessons learns and also made recommendations for improvements and future actions in this area.

The purpose of the meeting was to provide a forum in which participants can discuss the current terrorism threats in Southeast Europe, new modus operandi and trends of terrorist organizations, share good practices, with the overall aim of enhancing cooperation and decide on the potential directions to be followed at regional level.  The event offered the opportunity for discussing practical aspects in fighting terrorism and for exchanging operational information and proposing new joint investigations.

Operational meetings are part of the pro-active approach of SELEC in increasing operational support to its Member States in fighting terrorism and facilitating the exchange of information in this regard.

Operation "The Pack" targeting people smuggling led to several arrests

With the support of SELEC, on 19 of November 2016, the Bulgarian and Serbian law enforcement authorities concluded Operation THE PACK  targeting an organized criminal group dealing with illegal migration. The migrants, having Afghan origins and heading towards Western Europe countries, were captured at the Bulgarian/Serbian border.

Following the swift exchange of information through SELEC the joint investigation succeeded with the arrest of 5 traffickers and 26 migrants, and seizure of 8 vehicles used for smuggling. Legal means were used, as the offenders tried to escape arrest.

Further results are expected as the investigation is still ongoing.