EU PROTECTS > Our Safety > Joint Investigations: How the EU fights organised crime

“There is no impunity for those involved in organised crime.”

Roberto Verdugo

On 5 July 2017, police officers in Germany, Spain and Italy made 33 arrests and seized 1,000 kg of drugs, along with property and cars worth around €5 million.  

Behind the contraband and luxury was an extremely dangerous and intricate criminal network. It involved a car dealership in Germany laundering money and drugs through businesses in Spain and Italy. To take down the network, national and European authorities came together and carried out a cross-border operation.

Europol and Eurojust are the Europe-wide agencies that help police and prosecutors share vital information across EU borders. Both played a key role in supporting Germany, Spain and Italy to close this case.

Joint Investigations: How the EU fights organised crime

Italy was on the tail of a complex criminal network involved in drug smuggling, but the network’s illegal activities stretched beyond Italian territory and jurisdiction. The national authorities needed EU support before making a move.

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Roberto Verdugo

Addiction Therapist, Proyecto Hombre Association

Spain

“Drug trafficking has a huge impact on some Spanish communities. I see kids in their twenties who suddenly get rich and drive around in shiny cars. But this is just a fantasy. Once they get involved in this dangerous world, they usually end up in jail.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“EU countries must work together to eradicate this problem.”

 - Roberto Verdugo

Lt Colonel Giuseppe Furciniti

Financial Guard

Italy

“We suspected an organised criminal network of transporting cocaine and hashish from Spain to Italy. Members of the network were also involved in suspicious economic activities in Germany.”

“We wanted to launch an investigation, but it was important to get Spain and Germany involved.” 

“Eurojust and Europol were fundamental in the joint operation of 5 July 2017.”

 - Lt Colonel Giuseppe Furciniti

Juan D.

Civil Guard

Spain

The ordinary hero’s identity has been withheld to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.

“Italy contacted us about an organised crime network with links to Spain and Germany.”

“We could not treat the investigation as an exclusively Spanish matter, and European coordination was essential.”

“The EU-mandated investigation team was really the first of its kind between Italy, Spain and Germany.”

 - Juan D. 

Filippo Spiezia

Italian, Eurojust

The Netherlands

“In January 2017, we invited officers from Italy, Spain and Germany to The Hague. Our colleagues at Europol were also present. At this meeting, we prepared the entire operation.” 

“On the day of the operation, we were on call, ready to issue new search orders and arrest warrants within 30 minutes.”

“The 33 people arrested are set to serve long prison sentences.”

 - Filippo Spiezia

Borja Pastor

Spanish, Europol

The Netherlands

“At 4:30 am on 5 July, we were on the ground in all 3 countries to help national police forces raid the suspects’ homes and businesses. We also analysed and shared data from laptops, mobile phones and other devices that were confiscated during the raids.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We ran extensive background checks on the suspects.”

 - Borja Pastor

Olaf Fischer

Criminal Investigation Division against Organised Crime

Germany

“I was in charge of the operation on the German side. On 5 July, the operation ran smoothly thanks to the real-time information provided by Europol and Eurojust.”

“I made sure our officers went to Spain and Italy to work on the case with their counterparts.”

 - Olaf Fischer

Did you know?

€750 billion

The amount generated globally each year by transnational organised crime to the detriment of society.

Global threat, local effects

Drug overdose deaths in Europe rose by 6% to 8,441 from 2014 to 2015.

Joint Investigation Teams

Under EU law, temporary teams of police officers, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials from different EU countries can work together to investigate cross-border crimes (like drug trafficking) and collect evidence that will hold up in court.

200

The number of Joint Investigation Teams per year funded by Eurojust.

On-site and online

Europol works on the ground where there are active criminal investigations, and provides a Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA) so police in different countries can quickly share vital information and intelligence.

WHO ARE THE OTHER HEROES TACKLING CRIMINAL ACTIVITY?

Some of them may even come from your country.

Connected by the EU, there is a network of local heroes working together to help protect us from drug trafficking, radicalisation, cyberattacks and more. From police investigators to pilots, trade experts to medics, discover how the EU supports local heroes in your country.