02 April 2015 :: Archive 2015 :: Press releases :: Newsroom

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First Prize granted to Romania for Operation “PHOENIX/BRUNO”

BUCHAREST, April 2, 2015 - SELEC awarded the First Prize to the Directorate for Countering Organized Criminality, Anti-Drug Unit witihn the General Inspectorate of Romanian Police for the joint operation „PHOENIX/BRUNO”.
The Ceremony to hand over the Certificate of Honor took place today at the SELEC Headquarters in Bucharest.

Present to witness the ceremony were the representatives from Romanian Police (Police Chief Commissioner, Vasile Costea - Head of Anti-Drug Unit, Directorate for Countering Organized Criminality, Police Chief Commissioner, Victor Nistor - Head of Unit for Combating Drug Trans-border Trafficking, Directorate for Countering Organized Criminality, and Police Sub-Commissioner Irina Băcioiu – case officer) as well as from SELEC (Mr. Cristian Duţă, Director for Operations, and Mr. Eliodor Tanislav, Romanian Police Liaison Officer).

On 3rd of March 2015, SELEC granted awards to those cases which proved to be successful in fighting trans-border organized crime, for the second semester of 2014.  
The awards are granted twice per year and represent recognition of outstanding law enforcement activities carried out by Police and Customs Authorities of SELEC Member States in fighting trans-border organized criminality. The goal of the awards is to provide not only a material prize, but also to motivate the law enforcement authorities to use cooperation avenues available through SELEC for fighting trans-border organized crime in Southeast Europe.

Handing over the award, Mr. Cristian Duţă declared: “I would like to congratulate our colleagues from the Romanian Police for this outstanding accomplishment. Having the valuable support of the law enforcement authorities from Bulgarian Customs Agency, they managed to dismantle an organized crime group involved in cocaine trafficking from South America to Europe. This is an excellent example of successfully conducted joint investigation, using SELEC legal framework, operational assistance and communication channels. Combating drug trafficking represents a priority in the agenda of SELEC, which will continue by any means to support, encourage and motivate the Member States’ efforts to exchange information, to organize joint investigations and controlled deliveries and to disrupt organized crime groups with trans-national links and sources.”

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The joint investigation codenamed „PHOENIX/BRUNO” was a case in the field of drug trafficking, carried out between June 2014 and January 2015, involving the law enforcement authorities from Romanian Police and Bulgarian Customs. The aim of this joint investigation was to dismantle an organized crime group involved in cocaine trafficking from South America to Europe, along the Balkan route, and further on to Middle East.
Total of 55.625 kg of cocaine were seized on the territories of Romania and Republic of Bulgaria, 5 members of a multinational organized crime group being arrested. Arrest warrant was issued for the main organizer, while the vehicle used for smuggling has been confiscated. 

Due to the excellent co-ordination mechanism established via SELEC between the competent law enforcement and judicial authorities from Romania and Republic of Bulgaria, the operation „PHOENIX/BRUNO” represents a best practice example of successfully conducted trans-border operation in counternarcotics.

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SELEC is a unique operational organization in which Police and Customs Liaison Officers from 12 Member States (Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hellenic Republic, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Turkey) work together in direct cooperation, coordinate joint investigations and facilitate exchange of information.

MAIN OBJECTIVE OF SELEC:
The objective of SELEC, within the framework of cooperation among Competent Authorities, is to provide support for Member States and enhance coordination in preventing and combating crime, including serious and organized crime, where such crime involves or appears to involve an element of trans-border activity.

SELEC inherited the success of SECI Center - over 14 years of operational activities, joint investigations, meetings, workshops and strategic analysis covering the most sensitive trans-border criminal fields in the South Eastern European region. Throughout this period, the intensive exchange of information through the Liaison Officers and Center’s communication channels successfully supported the efforts of the law enforcement agencies in the Member States.