20.09.23 – French National Police arrest 13 intercontinental car traffickers. On 12 September 2023, French National Judicial police arrested 13 members of a criminal network specialised in the theft and trafficking of cars to West Africa. Various European countries, INTERPOL, and Europol supported the investigation, which was launched in summer 2021. This collaborative law enforcement effort led to the identification of a large, mobile and flexible criminal structure, which consisted mainly of French, Gambian and Senegalese nationals. In order to obtain recent car models, several “coordinators” relied on groups of car thieves located across France. The criminal network also recruited minors to drive the valuable stolen vehicles to various European ports. From there, the cars were concealed in cargo containers and shipped to West Africa. In total, law enforcement identified more than 170 vehicles transported from Belgian, Dutch, French, German, and Spanish ports through this modus operandi.
20.09.23 – International operation closes down Piilopuoti dark web marketplace. In a significant victory against dark web criminals, the Finnish Customs (Tulli), together with European partners, has successfully taken down the dark web marketplace ‘Piilopuoti’. Drugs and other illegal commodities were sold in large quantities on this Finnish-language platform which had been operating on the Onion Router (Tor) network since May 2022. This successful action by the Finnish Customs was supported, among others, by the German Federal Criminal Office (Bundeskriminalamt) and the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau (Lietuvos kriminalinės policijos biuras). Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre coordinated the international activity and provided operational support and technical expertise.
21.09.23 – 27 arrested in Spain for laundering over EUR 65 million drug profits. The Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional), supported by Europol, dismantled a criminal network involved in drug trafficking and laundering large sums of criminal profits. The investigation was initiated in 2021 based on a Europol intelligence report, which led to the identification of a drug trafficking organisation. The criminal group was led by Albanian nationals and was active in the production and trafficking of marijuana, but also organised large-scale money laundering activities for drug trafficking organisations. They used the so-called hawala system of underground banking, while working closely with Chinese nationals.
21.09.23 – Assets seized in Singapore’s money laundering case swell to S$2.4 billion. The total value of assets seized in Singapore’s biggest money laundering case has swelled to S$2.4 billion ($1.76 billion), police said on Wednesday. The assets now include cash amounting to more than S$76 million, 68 gold bars, cryptocurrencies of more than S$38 million, more than 110 properties and 62 vehicles worth more than S$1.2 million. Police did not give details of the fresh seizures and how they were found. Last month, 400 police officers ran simultaneous raids across Singapore and arrested 10 foreigners in an anti-money laundering swoop. Police have said the 10 suspects were allegedly “laundering the proceeds of their overseas organised crime activities, including scams and online gambling”.
22.09.23 – Operations co-funded by the EU lead to 197 arrests in Spain. Europol has supported the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) in 29 investigations, co-funded by EU financial mechanism. The operations, in line with EU priorities against serious and organised crime, targeted a number of criminal networks involved in drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud and corruption, among other crimes. The 29 criminal investigations, led by Spain and involving other EU Member States and non-EU countries, have led to the arrests of 197 suspected members of criminal organisations of 34 nationalities. As many as 33 fugitives (detected in cooperation with the European network ENFAST) and 6 high-ranked members of criminal networks were among the arrested individuals. The multiple action days led to 114 house searches and many seizures totalling at: almost 5 tonnes of cocaine, over 3 tonnes of cannabis, 1.7 tonnes of heroin, 53 kilograms of synthetic drugs, 28 firearms, 57 vehicles, over EUR 4 million in cash, properties with an estimated value of about EUR 12 million, and close to EUR 10 million in frozen bank accounts.