Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, recently led an international operation against serious and organized cross-border crime in Central and South-Eastern Europe together with the Austrian authorities, 13 countries, Europol, Eurojust and INTERPOL.
The action was organized under EMPACT, the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats. It tackles the most important threats posed by organized and serious international crime affecting the EU. The operation, known as EMPACT Joint Action Day (JAD) Danube, focused on combating the smuggling of migrants, fighting trafficking in human beings and document fraud.
As a result of the week-long action held between June 24 and July 4, participating authorities managed to arrest 82 people smugglers and identify two cases of trafficking in human beings involving three children. They also detected smuggled goods and stolen vehicles. In one case, the Moldovan authorities managed to disrupt a case of trafficking in human beings and stopped two children from being smuggled to Israel by a person who presented a false legal guardianship document.
INTERPOL confirmed 35 hits in its global databases, including six red notices for internationally wanted persons. On the first day of the operation, authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina managed to arrest a fugitive wanted in Israel for financial crimes worth over 60 million dollars.
Europol has performed 947 crosschecks against its databases of operational information contributed by the participating countries. This analysis resulted in 34 hits. Europol also deployed its Virtual Command Post to facilitate information exchange between the participant countries and agencies.
On the ground, Frontex standing corps officers, along with customs, border guards and police officers from the participating countries were conducting border checks that brought impressive results.
A coordination center was set up in Vienna to support the exchange of information among the participants and to lead investigations into people smuggling and trafficking in human beings.