323 stolen vehicles seized, worth EUR 5.5 million
From 7 to 9 October, law enforcement officers from all over Europe joined forces in an operation targeting vehicle crime which has so far resulted in the seizure of 323 stolen vehicles with an estimated value of almost EUR 5.5 million. Among the stolen vehicles seized were cars and trucks. Police carried out 376 475 checks and 469 people were arrested on charges of trafficking stolen vehicles, and possessing illicit drugs and firearms. Investigations and data analysis are still ongoing.
Joint Police Operation (JPO) ITACAR was led by Italy and, with Europol's support, saw the participation of law enforcement authorities from all 28 EU Member States and, in addition, Switzerland, Frontex, Interpol and TISPOL took part in the operation. Europol's operational room supported at least 30 000 law enforcement officers at ports, borders crossings and car dealers throughout Europe, by cross-checking data quickly and coordinating involved police, customs officers and border guards.
The aim of JPO ITACAR was to target vehicles stolen in the EU and mainly smuggled to Central and North Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, and to track down the criminal gangs active in this area. Involved law enforcement authorities were active on a 24-hour basis in a wide geographical area.