37 arrested, €2.3 million & 42 kg cocaine seized after checks at 37 European airports

18 December 2013
News Article
Press Release/News

This News/Press release is about Drug Trafficking

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Law enforcement authorities from 13 European countries, with the support of Europol and Airpol, have carried out a successful cross-border action (CBA) involving 37 European airports.

The goal of Operation Goodeye II was to use Passenger Risk Indicators (PRIs) and other tools to improve the view of outbound traffic at European airports and to detect couriers of illicit commodities hiding amongst the vast numbers of outgoing passengers leaving those airports.

One week prior to the action, a workshop was held at Amsterdam Schiphol airport to facilitate the exchange of best practices, tools and tactics related to outgoing passengers. The workshop had 35 participants and representatives from the different law enforcement agencies working at European airports, as well as Liaison Officers based at Europol.

Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Portugal, Spain, Scotland and Sweden participated in this action with various police services, border guards and customs agencies. These agencies often worked in mixed teams to combine their skills and competencies.

In total, 1295 outbound passengers were checked in the month of October. Of these passengers, 37 people were arrested and held in custody pending further investigation for several reasons (e.g. 4 people for smuggling and trafficking of human beings, and 10 cigarette couriers). Over EUR 2.3 million worth of illicit cash shipments, in currencies such as euros, British pounds and US dollars, were stopped for seizure and/or further investigation.

In addition law enforcement seized drugs including 42 kg of cocaine and 47 grammes of psychedelic mushrooms, as well as stolen mobile phones, items made of ivory and coral, 45 false identity documents (from various EU countries), 2 casino scam devices and 660 cartons of cigarettes. One missing person was also identified and returned home.

Europol’s Operational Centre provided support with its Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA), which was used for the rapid exchange of live operational data between participating countries. A Europol analyst was deployed at Schiphol Airport with the mobile office which performed 183 cross-checks of suspects, yielding positive hits in Europol’s databases.

Following the success of this cross-border action, Airpol will continue to organise similar actions in the future.