The French Border Police (Police Aux Frontières) within the French National Police (Police Nationale), supported by Europol, has dismantled a large criminal network involved in document fraud.
On June 16 and 17, officers from the French Border Police raided four houses and arrested three individuals suspected of forgery of documents. During the house searches technical equipment such as a dye diffusion thermal re-transfer printer, two laminators, 1150 blank plastic supports for ID cards and driving licences, holographic bands, as well as sixteen counterfeited ID cards (Belgium, Spanish and Italian), ID photos of customers and forged documents were seized. Counterfeit documents facilitate migrant smuggling activities by providing false identity for illegal entry or stay in the EU.
Active since 2019, the criminal group composed of Algerian nationals was based in Paris and Marseille. Two print shops and two individuals, suspected of document forgery, were identified in Paris, while several intermediaries were targeted in Marseille. The organizer of the illegal activity was connecting intermediaries and forgers producing Belgium, French, Italian and Spanish fake driving licences and identity cards. Active across Europe, the criminal network was at the beginning also collecting and redistributing stolen and lost documents. Used by migrant smugglers to facilitate their criminal activity, some of these documents were sent to Greece in 2019.
Europol supported the operation by facilitating information exchange and providing analytical support. On the two action days, Europol deployed an expert to France to provide expertise and cross-check in real time operational information against Europol’s databases and provide leads to investigators in the field.
The operation was developed under the framework of the EMPACT Joint Operational Team DOC FRAUD, focusing on document fraud challenges in the framework of facilitation of illegal immigration. The documents seized will be registered into ProfID database to make cross-checks with the other countries impacted.