Europol has supported an international investigation which last week led to simultaneous searches of several properties in France and Greece. More than 200 French gendarmes and Greek police officers were involved, along with French special forces and an Interpol emergency response team.
As a result 37 suspects were arrested, including two Georgian thieves-in-law. Twenty-four suspects are still under arrest and will be taken to court. The two thieves-in-law arrested are known to law enforcement authorities for committing numerous past crimes such as unlawful association, money laundering, fraud, extortion and theft.
Furthermore, authorities seized stolen jewellery, electronics and clothes, as well as firearms, drugs, smuggled cigarettes and cash.
This was the final stage of a one and a half year long joint operation carried out by Greek and French authorities.
It targeted several Georgian organised crime groups involved in illegal activities - especially burglaries on a grand scale - all over France and Greece. The criminal teams were coordinated in Greece and France by a thief-in-law.
Thieves-in-law are high-level professional criminals from the former Soviet Union who enjoy elite positions within the organised crime environment. They coordinate organised crime groups and make decisions in the criminal underworld.
Europol supported the entire operation by organising several operational meetings, cross checking data, performing operational analysis and deploying two teams on the spot.