The Hague, the Netherlands (Nov. 20, 2014) — A Vietnamese people-smuggling network smashed with support of Europol and Eurojust. Law enforcement authorities from six countries, supported by Europol and Eurojust, have smashed a Vietnamese organized criminal group involved in people smuggling, according to a press release from Europol corporate communications.
Police and judicial authorities from the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Poland and the UK yesterday participated in a joint action day to take down the criminal group. 26 individuals were arrested, 15 irregular migrants found and 37 searches were carried out. Furthermore around 1 750 cannabis plants were discovered worth approximately 1.5 million euro.
The criminal group, who are thought to have been operating since at least 2010, facilitated the entry into the EU of Vietnamese migrants, using real or forged passports and counterfeit identification and residence documents. Each migrant paid between EUR 10 000 and EUR 15 000 to the criminal group for documents and transport into several EU Member States, predominantly the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Poland and the UK.
The arrested members of the criminal group are being investigated for a range of serious offenses including aggravated facilitation of illegal entry, money laundering and forgery.
Prior to the action day, operational meetings were held at Europol and Eurojust. A joint investigation team was also set up and facilitated by Eurojust and Europol, made up of authorities from the Czech Republic, Finland and the UK.
Yesterday’s operation was coordinated from Eurojust’s premises in The Hague. Europol experts provided operational analysis reports to assist the investigation, as well as deploying mobile offices to Poland and UK to provide real time cross-checks of data on the action day.