16.08.23 – How undercover sting outwitted pangolin traffickers. The leaders of a global wildlife trafficking gang have been convicted after a four-year investigation and a trial in Nigeria. They pleaded guilty last month to smuggling the scales of endangered African pangolins. These “top-of-the-pyramid” traffickers were responsible for half the illegal trade in pangolin scales. This is the story of how they were outwitted by fake buyers and sting operations – conducted by a small European charity.
18.08.23 – Corrupt police worker Natalie Mottram admits tipping-off criminal. Natalie Mottram, from Warrington, was employed by Cheshire Police but was on secondment and working as an intelligence analyst at the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit when she was arrested by National Crime Agency officers on June 12, 2020. The 24-year-old, of Vermont Close in Chapelford, was arrested as part of Operation Venetic – the NCA-led UK response to the takedown of the encrypted communications platform EncroChat.
18.08.23 – Ecuador election: Narco politics rule ahead of polls. Ecuador is the world’s biggest banana exporter and the industry is a lucrative one, banana crates are a favourite mode of transporting cocaine among drugs cartels, from Ecuador’s ports and on to Europe and beyond. Mexican and Colombian cartels have infiltrated local gangs in Ecuador as they vie for lucrative drugs routes. Once one of the most peaceful countries in South America, Ecuador was hit hard by Covid and cartels have taken advantage of a country broken by the pandemic – and by corrupt politics. In the first six months of the year, there were 3,568 violent deaths in the country, according to the National Police. That was up more than 70% on last year.
18.08.23 – Vietnamese gang operated Birmingham cash and drugs stash house for organised crime. Four people who ran a stash house for criminal gangs in the West Midlands have been convicted following an investigation by the National Crime Agency. During a surveillance operation in January 2021, NCA officers followed gang member Bui Tuan, age 26, to a property on Chester Road in Erdington. He climbed out a BMW carrying a laundry bag, and went into the house, which had been rented by Vien Phan Hoang, 37. NCA officers moved in to raid the property, and as they did two of the occupants – Din Hvan Tran, 26, and Vien’s wife Bui Thi Huong, 29 – were seen attempting to hide packages of money in the garden.
19.08.23 – British and Swiss police break up a crime ring and recover a valuable Ming vase in a sting operation. LONDON (AP) — A sting operation at a London hotel helped authorities recover a 15th-century Chinese vase worth about 2 million pounds ($2.5 million) and break up the criminal ring believed to have stolen the artefact from a Swiss museum, British police said Saturday. The vase, which dates to the Yongle period of the Ming Dynasty, was one of three items stolen from the Museum of Far Eastern Art in Geneva in 2019.