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Joint Operation Sees 23 Countries Clamp Down on Smuggling and Trafficking

Operation Mobile 4, a two-week operation targeting multiple forms of organized property crime and fraud, has successfully concluded its November action days after thousands of border and roadside checks across Europe. Taking place in 16 European countries and further six Balkan states, operatives successfully intercepted hundreds of stolen vehicles and vehicle parts, as well as 1,000 irregular migrants and 31 people smugglers. 

Operation Mobile 4 is a wide-ranging international operation co-led by Greece, Germany, Poland, Frontex, and Europol. Police Officers and Border Guards from 23 European and West Balkan states were involved in the investigation. Europol provided remote support by crosschecking in real-time the information collected in the field against its databases.

During the two weeks of actions from law enforcement, officers pursued criminal activity on multiple fronts, carrying out vehicle checks, border searches and database analysis. The main focus was related to stolen vehicles, vehicle parts, and migrant smuggling, with investigators also targeting trafficking in drugs, firearms and endangered species.

The activities led to the seizure of 518 stolen vehicles. Officers also recovered several stolen luxury cars from Western Europe they found in Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Slovakia, as well as four stolen boats. The authorities that took part in Mobile 4 observed an increasing trend of smuggling of stolen trucks, buses, agriculture machinery, and holiday cars such as campervans.

Officers simultaneously raided chop shops, which dismantle stolen vehicles and facilitate parts smuggling, and performed roadside checks. This yielded 400 stolen vehicle parts, as well as 140 forged IDs and vehicle documents. 

Further checks by law enforcement on road vehicles and boats detected 1,000 irregular migrants being smuggled into the EU, leading to the arrest of 31 migrant smugglers.

The close cooperation of law enforcement agencies enabled investigators to successfully target a wide range of criminal activity under Operation Mobile 4. Law enforcement also received support from private actors in the vehicle manufacturing and rental sector, which helped investigators be more efficient and precise on the action days.

Read more at Europol

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