Thursday, September 28, 2023

Support to French and Belgian authorities’ action against large-scale drug trafficking

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Diplomat Magazine
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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

Eurojust and Europol assisted the French and Belgian authorities in a recent action day  against an organised crime group (OCG) suspected of large-scale drug trafficking, leading to seven arrests. The OCG is managed from Dubai, where two high-value targets had already been arrested.

In addition, in Belgium, two more suspects currently in custody are also linked to the French investigations. Information obtained by intercepting the encrypted communication tool SkyECC proved to be essential to organising the action day. Eurojust supported actions to dismantle SkyECC last year.

Investigations into the OCG were the follow-up of several  seizures of in total  around 2 000 kilograms of cocaine, arriving from Latin America to Europe by ship, and the kidnapping of a Belgian-based citizen, who has ties with the OCG trafficking cocaine via the port of Antwerp. The investigations revealed links to the Dubai-based leaders of the OCG.

Eurojust organised four coordination meetings to prepare for the operations, which were simultaneously rolled out by the French and Belgian authorities. The Agency furthermore coordinated the action day and provided cross-border judicial support to the authorities involved.

In France, the authorities involved were:

  • The National Jurisdiction against Organised Crime (JUNALCO) and the French Anti-Drug Office (OFAST).

In Belgium:

  • The Federal Public Prosecutors Office (Federaal Parket/Parquet Fédéral) and the Federal Police (Federale Politie/Police Fédéral) rolled out the action day.
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