European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol said on Thursday that it supported the Romanian Police in dismantling an organised crime group involved in large-scale drug trafficking, according to a press release.
The 1.5 tonnes of heroin, seized in the port of Constantia, was concealed in a shipment of a legal company operated by the criminal network. The operation also involved law enforcement authorities from Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The action days on 19, 20 and 25 May led to:
- 12 location searches Belgium, Hungary, the Netherlands and Romania
- 10 suspects arrested (7 in Belgium, 2 in the Netherlands and 1 in Romania)
- 1 452kg heroin seized for an estimated value of €45 million
The Romanian authorities detected and then seized 1 452 kg heroin in two containers loaded with marble slates on 10 May 2021. The shipment arrived at the Romanian port of Constanta from the Middle East.
The operational activities and monitoring of the drug delivery led to the arrests of the main targets on 19-20 May and the Belgium authorities arrested another suspect on 25 May.
“The leader of the criminal network had established a complex logistical and legal trade infrastructure to facilitate the import of large quantities of drugs from the production sites to the distribution market in Europe,” said Europol.
“He was using a significant number of companies across the EU to organise the distribution flow and conceal the illegal trafficking behind the façade of legal trade,” added Europol.
The joint operational actions across the EU, which involved 90 officers in Romania only, were enabled by a swift judicial and law enforcement coordination, supported by Europol and Eurojust (European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation).
Europol also deployed an expert to Romania to enable the cross-checking of operational information. Eurojust facilitated the cooperation between judicial authorities, which enabled the controlled deliveries and the collection of evidence.