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.