SELEC Bi-annual Awards Committee decided to grant the following awards to the law enforcement authorities from SELEC Member States for the first semester of 2015, as an appreciation for the successfully finalized joint investigations conducted and supported by SELEC.

First prize

-Operation named SIMBOX in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and CENTRALA in Republic of Serbia is a joint investigation in the field of cybercrime involving Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Serbia, which led to the arrest of 1 person, placing 10 persons under financial investigation, and seizure of several SIMBOX devices, over 40,000 SIM cards, and computer equipment.
The organized criminal group illegally started using telecommunication devices for the use of telephone calls termination. The devices were connected through internet and using the network of foreign mobile communication operators, with their SIM cards, they were establishing international communication at the price of a local telephone communication. In this way they bypassed international telephone traffic using “VOIP” technologies on unregistered pre-paid mobile telephone terminals.
As a result of this criminal activity, the mobile communication operators suffered a financial loss of more than half of million Euro.
The authorities from both involved states used the SELEC Channel for exchanging information, through their Liaison Officers posted at SELEC, and in coordination with their National Focal Points. SELEC facilitated and supported an operational meeting with the aim to perform operational checks necessary for establishing the circumstances under which these criminal offences were committed by the suspects from both countries, as well as to arrange the further steps of the investigation.
This kind of cyber crime is increasing and is a real problem to the mobile communication operators in most of the countries from the SEE region.

-Operation SETRA is a joint investigation in the field of migrants smuggling involving Republic of Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Republic of Turkey, in which 18 defendants were sent to court and 5 vehicles used for trafficking migrants were seized, as well as 20,000 Euros.
The operation targeted monitoring and dismantling an international network focused on illegal trafficking with migrants originating from Middle East, via Romania (with tourist visas) to Western Europe, especially to Germany, Austria and Italy.
As the members of the network were acting in many states in order to prove their criminal activities and to indict them, transborder cooperation via SELEC with Bulgaria, Turkey and Hungary was carried out.
The success of Operation SETRA was the result of the significant efforts carried out by the police officers and by the exceptional international and interinstitutional cooperation provided by SELEC.

Second prize

-Operation SKIPER/TOWER is a joint investigation in the field of drug trafficking involving Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, which led to the arrest of 8 persons, seizure of drugs in value of approximately 30.000 Euro, and a large quantity of weapons and ammunition.
The organized criminal group consisting in Montenegrin citizens has been created for the purpose of committing criminal acts, trafficking and selling marihuana, hashish and heroin from Albania through the area of Montenegro to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The joint investigation was coordinated through SELEC that organized operational meetings and facilitated the exchange of information through its secure channel, the investigative authorities recognizing SELEC’s role as being of outmost importance.

-Operation SHEPPARD is a joint investigation in the field of migrants smuggling involving Hungary, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Turkey, which led to the arrest of 14 persons, other 5 persons being under judicial control, seizure of forged identification/travel documents, and vehicles used for migrants transport.
Operation SHEPPARD was directed towards an organized criminal group involved in smuggling of human beings and illegal border crossings of migrants from Turkey and Afro-Asian countries to the European Union countries. Members of the organized criminal group were acting on the territory of Republic of Turkey, Republic of Serbia and Hungary.
The initial information about the criminal activity was received from SELEC Turkish Liaison Officer, and SELEC also organized an operational meeting gathering officers from all involved countries with the view to exchange operational data related to the case, data necessary to open the investigation in Republic of Serbia under name code “PASTIR”.
Special significance for conducting and realizing the operation was the exchange of information via SELEC, as well as the contribution of Police Liaison Officers posted at SELEC from Republic of Turkey and Republic of Serbia.

Third prize

-Operation MASKA is a joint investigation in the field of drug trafficking involving Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, which led to the arrest of 24 persons, seizure of marijuana, 1,750 cartons of cigarettes and 5 vehicles.
The authorities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Montenegro, with SELEC, initiated an investigation based on the suspicion that several persons from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia had committed criminal offences of organized crime connected to illegal trafficking of narcotic drugs and smuggling.

-Operation ALEKS is a joint investigation in the field of Customs duty evasion involving Republic of Moldova and Romania, which led to the arrest of 5 persons (including 2 organizers), seizure of truck with trailer and respective transported goods in total value of 143,000 Euro.
The investigation revealed that the Moldovan company used to counterfeit the documents regarding the operations for goods’ import in view of absconding from custom duties.
SELEC channels were used in order to exchange information and initiate the checks regarding the transit and import of goods to Republic of Moldova, especially through Romania. SELEC also organized and supported an operational meeting where it was commonly agreed to conduct real-time controls at RO-MD border regarding transportation of imported goods.

-Operation BALKANYIA is a murder case involving Republic of Bulgaria and Republic of Serbia which led to the arrest of 18 persons. The murder was committed in Serbia with the involvement of two organized criminal groups acting on the territory of Republic of Bulgaria and Republic of Serbia. The criminal groups had a permanent structure, each member being assigned with different tasks, and using different means, including fire arms and arson.