Three Hungarian criminals on Europol’s European Most Wanted list have been arrested by the Hungarian and Spanish authorities in a simultaneous joint action carried out in Spain. The suspects allegedly run a cannabis plantation and processing facility in Hungary. Eurojust supported the investigation and played a key role in facilitating cross-border judicial cooperation during the operation.
Between 2020 and 2021, the suspects allegedly operated a professionally equipped and automated infrastructure for the cultivation and processing of thousands of cannabis plants in Hungary. The Hungarian authorities dismantled the facility in May 2021. During the operation, the authorities seized 165 kg of marijuana and cocaine and assets worth over HUF 380 million (EUR 983,700).
The authorities were able to identify all seven members of the criminal network and arrested two of them soon after the operation. The other five members were placed on Europol’s European Most Wanted list.
Three suspects fled to Spain from where they are believed to have continued their criminal activities. According to the investigation, they imported 100 kg of marijuana and 10 kg of cocaine into Hungary on at least 10 occasions.
The Hungarian authorities contacted their Spanish counterparts to carry out a search of the suspects’ hideout, where they were renting a house under false identities in the Spanish town of Calpe. As a European Investigation Order (EIO) had to be executed in parallel with the arrest of the suspects, the authorities requested assistance from Eurojust. Close cooperation between the National Desks of Hungary and Spain ensured round-the-clock transmission of documents and the execution of the EIO in Spain just one day after it was issued by the Hungarian authorities.
The three suspects were arrested in Spain on 19 July. The investigation is still ongoing as two members of the criminal organisation are still on the run.
The following authorities took part in this investigation:
- Hungary: National Bureau of Investigation, Chief Prosecution Office of Zala County
- Spain: Investigative Court in Alicante (num 2), International Cooperation Unit of Prosecution Service in Alicante, Guardia Civil