SELEC awards the most notable joint investigations

As an appreciation for the outstanding results and successful international cooperation, SELEC awarded the most notable joint investigations carried out by the law enforcement authorities of our Member States in the framework of SELEC during the first semester of 2019:

Joint investigation RING RING on SIM cards fraud, conducted between Bulgarian and Romanian law enforcement authorities was successfully finalized following two years exchange if information supported also by SELEC and its Liaison Officers. The investigation targeted dismantling an organized crime group that committed frauds related to/and through mobile means of communication on the territory of Republic of Bulgaria. The members of the organized crime group were Bulgarian citizens who were traveling to Romania in order to purchase prepaid phone cards, used for committing the criminal activities. Joint actions were developed in the same time on the territory of Bulgaria and Romania, following house searches hundreds of prepaid cards and mobile phones being seized. It was determined, as a modus operandi, that the members of the organized criminal group used various SIM cards to initiate phone conversations and by using false pretexts and/or pretending to be state officials (including police officers) they determined the victims to transmit them various amounts of money, the profit obtained by the members of the organized crime group during these two years being evaluated at approx. 1 million euro. Following this investigation 25 persons were arrested, 132 mobile phones, 137 cards, 200 vouchers, 7 luxury cars were seized, items in value more than 1,000,000 euro.

Joint investigation SYNERGIA/ BREZI I GJELBËR was conducted against an organized criminal group dealing with drug trafficking from Albania to Greece and further distributed in other EU countries.  With the parallel investigations running in both countries and due to instant exchange of gathered intelligence among the Hellenic and Albanian Officers the investigation led to the identification of several members of the criminal group and their modus operandi. During the investigations via intelligence led operations several seizures took place and finally in joints operation the whole chain of the criminal group was disrupted via the arrest and prosecution of sixty-one (61) members of the group. Following this joint investigation 1 ton and 1.23 kg of cannabis sativa, 1.23 kg of heroin and cocaine were seized, as well as military cartridges, 78 mobile phones, 25 different vehicles (cars, motorcycles, etc) and a significant amount of money. The real time information in this case has been exchanged through the Police Liaison Officers posted at SELEC from Albania, North Macedonia, Greece, and Turkey. SELEC supported also several operational meetings.

Joint investigation FIREFLY on illegal production and smuggling of cigarettes, was conducted by the Bulgarian and Romanian authorities. The members of the organized criminal group were of Romanian and Bulgarian origin. The Romanian perpetrators were living in Bulgaria and they were organizing their illegal activities by recruiting personnel for illegal factories, providing samples for future deals, meeting alleged buyers for the illegally produced cigarettes, a/o. For several months special investigating measures were used with the purpose of collecting evidence for the criminal activity of the entire network. As a result, it was concluded that the illegal factory controlled by this organized crime group was located outside the territory of Romania and Bulgaria. Based on the supplied information, the Belgium Police started an investigation and located the illegal factory in a warehouse in the city of Tamines/Belgium, seizing all tobacco precursors, equipment and devices found, as well as 26,350,000 pcs of cigarettes and 10,200 kg of manufactured tobacco. The total prejudice to the state budget according to the estimation of the Belgium authorities is around 7,1 million Euro.

Joint investigation REACTION in the field of heroin trafficking was conducted by the Bulgarian Police and Turkish Customs authorities. The drugs, hidden in special concealment of the lorry, were intended for Western Europe, coming from Turkey, via Bulgaria. The Liaison Officers of the two countries posted at SELEC used SELEC channel for communication, operational meetings supported by SELEC were also held with the purpose to ensure the success of this joint investigation. During the course of the investigation 67 kg of heroin were seized, the value of the drugs in Bulgaria at that time was around 1 million euro.

Joint investigation WINTER was a case related to multiple murders performed for financial gain executed by a hitman, of Hungarian-Serbian citizenship, accused of 4 murders and 1 murder attempt. The targeted persons were involved in organized crime, being either former leaders of an organized criminal group, either associates with organized criminal groups. The Hungarian Police exchanged information regarding the suspect with SELEC and other organizations, as well as with Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Croatia and Serbia. Intensive amount of information was exchanged via the SELEC channel between Hungarian and Serbian authorities in order to detect all possible hiding places of the criminal. A trilateral meeting between Hungarian, Serbian and Austrian law enforcement officers was supported by SELEC in order to exchange operational information. The criminal was located by Slovakian and Czech authorities, captured and extradited to Hungary for prosecution, currently being under arrest, risking an imprisonment of up to 20 years.