Updated: 1 hour 41 min ago
Every day, throughout the EU and beyond, thousands of dogs are working to help keep us safe, many times even risking their lives. These specially-trained and dedicated ‘K9’ officers are searching for explosives or drugs, finding evidence at crime scenes, tracking missing people and criminals and protecting their handlers. To honour their loyalty and their work, Europol dedicates for the first time ever its yearly calendar to these invaluable four-legged members of police forces.
In total, 40 suspects were arrested in Spain, Morocco and Germany, and more than EUR 13 million in cash, almost 4 tonnes of cocaine, 18 luxury vehicles and 3 boats were seized. The cocaine seized is worth more than EUR 103 million in the Spanish market. Part of the cocaine seized in Spain was destined for the UK.
Sports corruption for the purpose of fraudulent betting is a crime phenomenon that is on the rise and is often carried out by organised crime groups that operate transnationally. Criminals operating in this field use different modi operandi and adopt very complex structures, therefore the only successful response by law enforcement is to adopt a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approach, involving all key actors from both the public and private sectors.
The number of outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) chapters in Europe still remains on a high and growing level. OMCGs are well organised groups that usually operate transnationally.
France, Germany and Austria dismantle international firearms trafficking group with the support of Europol
On 9-10 November 2017, 11 individuals suspected of firearms trafficking were arrested simultaneously by law enforcement authorities in France, Germany and Austria. The main provider, alongside two buyers, was arrested by the Austrian authorities. Around 50 weapons, numerous ammunition and more than EUR 115 000 were also seized as part of this operation.
The Spanish Guardia Civil, supported by the Bulgarian Police, Portuguese Police and Europol, have dismantled an international crime group dedicated to vehicle theft and the illicit trafficking of the vehicles from Spain to Europe. The operation resulted in the arrest of 19 individuals and the investigation of five other suspects, who are accused of belonging to a criminal organisation, vehicle theft, document fraud, and money laundering.
Last week, Frontex hosted the second meeting of the Horizontal Expert Group on Document Fraud at the agency’s headquarters in Warsaw. The Horizontal Expert Group, led by France and supported by Frontex and Europol, consists of experts in investigating document fraud from EU Member States, as well as from European agencies, Interpol, the European Commission and the Council. The group has been set up to exchange intelligence, and provide operational and technical support to target document fraud and organised criminal groups behind this phenomenon.
The Organized Crime Unit of the Hellenic Police, with the support of Europol, dismantled an organised criminal group engaged in migrant smuggling and document forgery. The organised crime group smuggled illegal migrants by air from Greece to the United Kingdom, using falsified documents. 20 persons have been arrested in Greece. The planning of the operation started in July 2017.
As criminals increasingly adopt the Crime-as-a-Service model, getting easy access to tools and services for digitally-enabled crimes, law enforcement authorities face a highly complex challenge when conducting criminal investigations online. To address this challenge, and to better support EU Member States’ investigations on the internet, Europol officially launched the SIRIUS platform during a kick-off meeting in The Hague on 30 and 31 October 2017.
Europol and Eurojust today supported a joint investigation team (JIT), consisting of investigators and judicial authorities from five different EU Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, France, the Netherlands and the UK), in dismantling a migrant smuggling network operating across Europe.
195 individuals suspected of traveling with airline tickets bought using stolen, compromised or fake credit card details have been detained in a major international law enforcement operation targeting airline fraudsters. Between 16 and 20 October 2017, 61 countries, 63 airlines and 6 online travel agencies were involved in the 10th edition of the Global Airport Action Days (GAAD) which took place at over 226 airports across the world.
The 5th Europol-INTERPOL Cybercrime Conference held at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague on 27 – 29 September 2017. Under the theme "Actively united for a safer cyber space", the three-day event brought together the management of cybercrime divisions from around the world to further strengthen cooperation, including with partners from the private industry, NGOs, CERTs and academia.
On 19 October 2017 Europol published a Call for Proposals to fund activities and operations carried out during the first year of implementation of the 2018-2021 EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime. This is a Call restricted to EMPACT participants to support Operational Actions laid down in the 2018 Operational Action Plans expected to be approved by the Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security of the European Union (COSI) later this year. The award of grants to the successful applicants is foreseen in the first quarter of 2018.
EU-wide operations identify potential victims and suspects of child trafficking and migrant smuggling
During an EU wide law enforcement operation against child trafficking from 9 to 13 October 2017, at least 34 minors and 1072 adults were found in vulnerable or potentially exploitative situations. 16 suspects of trafficking in human beings were arrested and several links to migrant smuggling, document forgery and drugs trafficking were identified. A simultaneous operation against the facilitation of illegal migration in and around reception centres saw the additional arrests of 74 suspects, of which 4 for migrant smuggling.
The Internet of Things: when your washing machine and blood pressure monitor become a target for cyberattacks
With at least 20 billion devices expected to be connected to the internet by 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay. While it has many undeniable positive effects, the threats and risks related to the IoT are manifold and they evolve rapidly.
On 10 October 2017, the Finnish Border Guard, with the support of Europol, the Icelandic Police, the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), have dismantled an organised crime group composed of Syrian and Iraqi nationals, accused of facilitating the illegal entry of migrants from Southern Europe to Finland and onwards to USA via Iceland and Mexico.
Are you sharing the same IP address as a criminal? Law enforcement call for the end of Carrier Grade NAT (CGN) to increase accountability online
On 13 October 2017, the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU and Europol held a workshop attended by 35 EU policy-makers and law enforcement officials, to address the increasing problem of non-crime attribution associated with the widespread use of Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGN) technologies by companies that provide access to the internet. The workshop was supported by experts from Europol’s partners: Proximus, CISCO, ISOC, the IPv6 Company, and the European Commission.
On 16 and 17 October 2017, the EU Cybersecurity Agency (ENISA) and the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) organised the sixth edition of their annual workshop. This year’s headline was cooperation between European Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) and law enforcement.
On 10 October 2017, the French National Police, in coordination with the German Bundespolizei and with the support of Europol, have dismantled an organised crime group involved in the illegal smuggling of Indian nationals into Europe. The network was involved in facilitating irregular migration, forging official documents, and labour exploitation. As a result of this joint operation, 6 suspects – thought to be the ring leaders – were arrested in France, and a further 8 in Germany.
Because it has become increasingly difficult to cross borders and in order to stay under the radar of law enforcement authorities, migrant smugglers are developing more and more ways to facilitate moving irregular migrants into or within destination countries in the EU. Some of the most recent trends in migrant smuggling have now been published in the latest European Monitoring Team Special Edition Report from Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre. Some of the new trends discovered by law enforcement in Europe are: