A total of 24 European countries* supported by EU institutions and agencies have come together to target alarm and signal weapons of Turkish origin illegally trafficked into the EU via Bulgaria and other countries.
In recent years, alarm and signal weapons have become extremely popular among criminals and feature in considerable figures in firearm trafficking and seizure cases. This is due to the fact that they can be easily converted into lethal weapons and are cheaper to procure.
To tackle the increase in weapons illegally transformed and traded, operation BOSPHORUS was set up and led by the Romanian Police (Politia Romana) within the framework of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT). Supported by Europol, authorities collected data and conducted intelligence analysis of the buyers and sellers of firearms earlier this year to enable a series of investigations and activities on a national level.
Between November 2 and 11, operation BOSPHORUS was concluded by joint action days where police officers from Albania, Greece, Portugal and Romania carried out 81 house searches.
These investigations led to the following arrests and seizures:
- 11 arrests;
- 191 firearms;
- 3,714 cartridges of ammunition;
- small quantities of drugs including cannabis and cocaine;
- unstamped cigarettes packs;
- 1 vehicle;
- 164 pieces of pyrotechnics; and
- false ID documents.
- Prior to the action days this November, all participating countries conducted various activities and investigations that led to the additional seizure of 1,585 firearms.
The action leader of the EMPACT Firearms activity from the Romanian Police coordinated the operation with the support of Bulgaria, Spain and Europol. The European Commission, European Firearms Experts, and Eurojust also supported the operation.The framework for the joint action weeks consisted of an operational upstream work performed by gathering intelligence, databases cross-checking and operational analysis of buyers in the EU of weapons from Bulgarian firearms dealers. Europol provided further support during the course of the action days with the exchange of information and real time communication among the participating countries.
Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.