On 6 – 7 December 2016, law enforcement and judicial authorities from France and the Netherlands, supported on-the-spot by Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre, took action against an organised crime network suspected of having smuggled some 500 migrants from Somalia to different destination countries in the EU along secondary routes. 8 suspects were arrested in France (Strasbourg, Modane, Paris) and one in the Netherlands (Geleen) as a result of this joint action.
This criminal syndicate, composed of Somali nationals residing mainly in France and Italy, was responsible for smuggling Somali migrants from Italy to different EU Member States, such as Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Northern European countries. Some of these migrants were smuggled out of Italy by means of car, train or coach, while others were smuggled directly from Africa to Europe by flights transiting via Asian countries using fake travel documents.
This operation was preceded by extensive and complex criminal investigations supported by Europol, which coordinated the law enforcement authorities in France and the Netherlands, mirrored by Eurojust’s coordination of the judicial authorities. This European cooperation, combined with international telephone tapping managed by France, led to the identification in Strasbourg (France) of several members of this logistic platform.
On the action day itself, Europol provided on-the-spot support by performing real-time analysis and cross-checks against its databases of the information and telecommunication data that were provided by the participating Member States.