Europol Helps Dismantle Criminal Gang in Bosnia
The European Union’s law enforcement agency said that its three-year cooperation with law enforcement authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina has resulted in the dismantling of an influential drug trafficking gang and the arrest of 38 suspects in the Balkan country.
“The investigation, initiated in 2021, focused on the activities of a criminal network involved mainly in the production and trafficking of drugs in the Western Balkans, the European Union and South America,” Europol said Thursday in a statement.
The agency said that it has been assisting the operation since the beginning, providing communications analysis to help national authorities identify suspects and reveal their criminal actions.
Through operational analysis of encrypted communications, such as the ANOM and SkyECC apps, Europol said it yielded important leads that aided in the identification of illegal actors, which certainly helped national agencies in developing their investigative efforts.
It emphasized that such information interchange between different national agencies revealed a large-scale organization stretched over two continents, with some members holding positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s state administration, whose names were not disclosed.
The organization was also reportedly involved in drug and weapon trafficking, money laundering, and corruption.
German law enforcement and judicial officials were also involved in the operation, and one “high value target” was apprehended in Germany and extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the statement.
Aside from the 38 people arrested, the operation yielded more than 300 kilos of cannabis, as well as real estate and cash worth more than six million euro (US$6.57 million).
Europol also stated that, as of June 2023, it will enhance its operational cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“This new development relates to the establishment of a single National Contact Point for all Bosnia and Herzegovina’s law enforcement authorities with Europol, connecting them to the Europol Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA) system,” – a state-of-the-art platform that meets the communication needs of EU law enforcement.
The agency also said that the Bosnia and Herzegovina Liaison Officer would soon join a large community of around 300 Liaison Officers from over 45 nations who are already housed at Europol’s headquarters.