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Swift recovery of a stolen vehicle evaluated at 400,000 Euro

On December 14th 2017, the Bulgarian and Turkish law enforcement authorities initiated joint investigation codenamed "Panamera" in order to recover a luxurious vehicle evaluated at 400,000 Euro, that was stolen from Republic of Bulgaria and was declared wanted in the Interpol system. The vehicle was located through GPS, the coordinates showing that the vehicle is located in Istanbul/Republic of Turkey, in the harbor area. The Bulgarian Chief Directorate of the National Police and insurance company's representatives were deployed to Istanbul to support the Turkish Police and Turkish Customs in this investigation. The next day, using a special locating device, the vehicle was discovered in a container, prepared for departure, with changed car plate numbers. The whole operation finished in less than 24 hours, as SELEC channel of information exchange was used in real time, constantly, through the Liaison Officers of the countries involved. Currently, the procedures are ongoing.

The Director for Operations of SELEC attended Foro di Roma

On December 13th 2017, Mr. Romulus N. Ungureanu, Director for Operations, attended the Foro di Roma held in Rome/Italy with the participation of representatives from various countries, as well as European Commission, Europol, Frontex, Interpol and SELEC.

Foro di Roma is an important meeting of Balkan Region Police Chiefs having the role to share knowledge and experience, as well as to plan operational strategies to address current criminal threats.

SELEC can contribute to these efforts by sharing the experience in the field and underlining the important steps that were taken in order to efficiently tackle organized criminality, increase and diversify the police actions and the tools available to law enforcement authorities.

“In the general context of globalization, identifying and developing the most adequate ways to tackle this phenomena is a priority for SELEC” stated Mr. Ungureanu on this occasion.

Laboratories for illegal production of precursors and synthetic drugs discovered during a joint investigation supported by SELEC

On 30 November 2017, the competent authorities from The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Serbia dismantled an international organized crime group involved in the production, trade and transport of synthetic drugs, as well as illegal trafficking in precursors, with final destination Republic and Turkey and probably Middle East. The exchange of information in this case was done through SELEC channel, which also supported several operational meetings between the involved case officers.

During the searches that were carried out in Tetovo/The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Police found a laboratory with sophisticated equipment for illicit production of synthetic drugs, a large quantity of pills and other raw materials, as well as a gun, two pistols and ammunition being seized.The following day, the Police performed two additional searches in the area of Skopje during which other equipment (machines) was found, as well as 64 pills, 98 bags with powder substance, one pistol and ammunition.

Following the forensics examination it was determined that the active component is Amphetamine, the pills being marked as “Kaptagon“.

The total amount of different substances seized is to be determined, until now 204,696 pills and 67 packs with a net weight of 35044 gr. were examined.(read more)

Successful elections for the position of Director General during the 16th SELEC Council meeting

The 16th session of the SELEC Council took place on 12 December 2017, at SELEC Headquarters in Bucharest/Romania, with the participation of official representatives of SELEC Member States, Operational Partners and Observers, such as Austria, Belgium, France, GCC-CIC, Germany, Europol, Italy, Spain, SEEPAG and USA.

Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Acting Director General/ Director for Legal and Internal Affairs welcomed the participants and presented the latest developments within SELEC.

The main topic of the agenda were the elections for the position of Director General of SELEC for which two countries submitted nominations. The voting process finalized with the election of Mrs. Snejana Maleeva as Director General of SELEC, for a 4 years mandate, in accordance with the provisions of the SELEC Convention.

During the meeting the Operational Activity Report of SELEC for the first semester of 2017, as well as the stage of the projects’ implementation were presented by Mr. Romulus N. Ungureanu, Director for Operations.

As the Chairmanship of the Council for the year 2017 belonged to Montenegro and the Vice-Chairmanship to Republic of Croatia, Mr. Dejan Djurovic, Head of International Police Cooperation within the Ministry of Interior and Mr. Dalibor Juric, Head of Sector for Support of Criminal Police from the Ministry of Interior received certificates of appreciation for their contribution to the development of SELEC.

The next Council session to be held under the Chairmanship of Romania was scheduled for May 2018.

Joint investigation between Albanian and Turkish authorities on drug trafficking

Following three months’ intensive exchange of information between Albanian Narcotic Department and Turkish Narcotic Department via SELEC, on 21st of November 2017 Istanbul Narcotic Department have seized 410 kg of marijuana trafficked from Republic of Albania to Republic of Turkey by an organized criminal group consisting of Albanian and Turkish Citizens.

Operation codenamed “Sunshine” is still ongoing, further results being expected in the near future.

Official visit to SELEC of the General Inspector of the Hungarian Police

On November 15th 2017, the Acting Director General of SELEC, Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, received at the SELEC Headquarters the visit of a Hungarian delegation lead by Lt.gen. Karoly Papp, General Inspector of the Hungarian Police.

During the visit, Mr. Papp expressed appreciation towards SELEC and mentioned that Hungary will continue to support the endeavors of SELEC in preventing and combating trans-border organized crime, with the goal of making the region more secure.

The valuable support of Hungary in fulfilling SELEC’s mission was underlined by Mrs. Maleeva, Hungary actively participating in the operational activities and coordinating two of the SELEC Task Forces, namely the Stolen Vehicles Task Force and the Environment and Nature Related Crimes Task Force.

SELEC organized the annual Anti-Fraud and Anti-Smuggling Task Force meeting

The 17th meeting of the Anti-Fraud and Anti-Smuggling Task Force, organized by SELEC, was held on November 9th 2017, in Bucharest/ Romania, at the SELEC Headquarters.

The Director for Operations of SELEC, Mr. Romulus Nicolae Ungureanu, and the Task Force Co-Manager, Mr. Dorian Dingo, chaired the meeting, addressed the participants from SELEC Member States and experts from partner’ countries and organizations, and presented the latest activities developed in the framework of this Task Force. Mr. Ungureanu presented the objectives and benefits of Project F.A.I.T- Fight Against Illegal Trade, to be implemented by SELEC starting 2018.

Illicit tobacco trade represents a major concern for all SELEC’s Member States, causing serious losses to their budgets, at the same time increasing the finances of the organized crime groups that are engaging in smuggling of cigarettes and other tobacco related products because they obtain substantial benefits with a lower risk compared to other types of crime.

During the meeting, the key findings of the 2016 SEE Draft Report on Tobacco Products Smuggling, as well as the draft Evaluation report of Operation Know-How II and of Operation Eclipse II, were presented to the participants by Mr. Valentin Dinca, Assistant Criminal Analyst within SELEC. (read more)

The Paris Pact Initiative Expert Meeting on Precursors hosted by SELEC

Trafficking of precursors was the focus of the expert meeting hosted by SELEC at its headquarters in Bucharest during 23-24 October 2017. The meeting, organized under the framework of the Paris Pact Initiative jointly by UNODC and SELEC, was attended by specialists from Paris Pact partners countries and organizations including SELEC Member States and Partners, as well as from Afghanistan, People’s Republic of China, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan as well as representatives of the European Union EU-ACT, Europol, GCC-CIC, INCB, Interpol and SCO.

The meeting was opened by Ms. Snejana Maleeva, Acting Director General of SELEC, Ms. Marie-Anne Menier, Paris Pact Coordinator, UNODC Division for Operations and Mr. Mark Colhoun, Deputy Representative / Senior Law Enforcement Advisor, UNODC Country Office for Afghanistan.

During her intervention, Ms. Maleeva highlighted SELEC activities and results in the field of anti-drug trafficking and reiterated that SELEC is a Paris Pact Initiative partner, supporting this partnership in combating opiates trafficking. (read more)

SELEC organized the annual Anti-Drug Trafficking Task Force meeting

The 23rd meeting of the Anti-Drug Trafficking Task Force was held at the SELEC Headquarters in Bucharest, on October 17th 2017, with the participation of SELEC Member States and Partner countries’ experts, as well as representatives of EUBAM and Interpol.

Mr. Romulus N. Ungureanu, Director for Operations of SELEC and Mr. Svetlin Danailov, Task Force Co-Manager, chaired the meeting and presented the latest activities developed in the framework of the Anti-Drug Trafficking Task Force, as well as the excellent results obtained in this field by the Member States’ law enforcement authorities, with SELEC support.

The Acting Director General of SELEC, Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, addressed opening remarks during which she underlined that SELEC’s mission is to support its Member States in preventing and countering this crime, as drug trafficking in Southeastern Europe remains a serious concern that law enforcement institutions are constantly dealing with.

During the meeting, the most noteworthy anti-drug trafficking joint investigations conducted by the Member States under SELEC’s coordination and support were presented by the representatives of the Member countries and partners. (read more)

The 3rd INTERPOL CT Committee Meeting hosted by SELEC

During 2-4 October 2017 SELEC hosted the 3rd INTERPOL CT Committee Meeting for the MENA region with the participation of officers from six Middle East and North Africa countries and representatives of international organizations such as SELEC, Europol, NATO and UNODC.

The purpose of the meeting was to find ways to improve the exchange of information between counter-terrorism experts from the Middle East and North Africa, and to provide a better understanding of INTERPOL’s projects in the region. Further developing the law enforcement cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism was also a topic of the discussions.

Mr. Romulus N. Ungureanu, Director for Operations, presented SELEC’s activities and tasks, with a focus on the actions developed in the framework of SELEC Anti-Terrorism Task Force, stating that “Increasing the international cooperation as a response to the new terrorist attacks and improving the tolls available for the investigators, in parallel with an intensive preventive and proactive action are definitely ways to move further and to insure a secure and safe environment in our societies for the citizens around the world. Equally we should envisage and increase communication with private sector, social media platforms, internet providers, financial entities in order to access particular type of expertise and legally support the investigations and the efforts against terrorism”.

The three-day meeting provided an opportunity to create synergies between national and international institutions involved in the fight against terrorism, supported by INTERPOL's global capabilities.

INTERPOL is a long term partner of the Center, currently having the status of Operational Partner with SELEC.

The Annual Meeting of the Heads of Combating Organized Crime Agencies from Southeast Europe

During 19-22 September 2017, the Director for Operations of SELEC, Mr. Romulus N. Ungureanu, attended the 14th Edition of the Annual Meeting of the Heads of Combating Organized Crime Agencies from Southeast Europe. The meeting, held in Sibiu/Romania, was organized by the Romanian Police, the Embassy of the United States of America and Hanns Seidel Foundation.
The event gathered experts in preventing and combating organized crime from specialized authorities, as well as representatives of international organizations, such as Europol, Interpol, Frontex and SELEC.
Mr. Ungureanu presented the role of SELEC, a unique law enforcement organization gathering Police and Customs, in preventing and combating trans-border organized crime in the Southeast European region.
The meeting also offered the opportunity for the participants to have various debates, evaluations and bilateral meetings concerning the international dimension of organized criminality.

Successful joint investigation on migrants’ smuggling

In mid-July 2017, the competent law enforcement authorities from The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia undertook multiple measures and activities to arrest the members of an organized criminal group constituted of nationals from Republic of Albania, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and individuals from the Middle East, who were dealing with smuggling migrants. 23 individuals were charged on serious grounds they’ve committed the criminal acts of “Smuggling migrants” and “Organizing a group and encouraging someone to commit the crime of trafficking in human beings”.

The members of the organized criminal group, led by foreign illegal migrants from the Middle East countries, in collaboration with members of the organized criminal group from Republic of Albania, Hellenic Republic and Republic of Serbia, organized the smuggling of migrants from The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Hellenic Republic to Republic of Serbia by using illegal crossing points.  Most of the migrants originated from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, as well as from the Middle and Far East.

In the following days, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s Police intercepted an illegal transport of 12 migrants transported by car, driven by one of the organizers. House searches were performed and 2 more migrants were found in the villages area. At the same time, 14 individuals, members of the organized criminal group, were arrested, 6 vehicles, many telephone devices and SIM cards, almost 30,000 €, and 1 pistol being seized.

Due to the fact that the criminal activities of the organized criminal group had international dimensions, for the success of this case it was important to have an effective international police collaboration during the process of identifying, targeting, profiling and suppressing of the group. The law enforcement cooperation and the exchange of information were done through SELEC, which also supported the organization of several operational meetings in the countries involved in this operation code-named JASTREB/FALCON.