Over 200 Carabinieri officers from Rome, supported by Europol, have dismantled a Georgian organised crime group that committed a vast array of criminal offences, ranging from house burglaries and fencing to facilitating irregular migration.
Fifty-seven individuals have been arrested, all linked to the Georgian Mafia-type group commonly known as 'thieves in law' (vory v zakone). They were known for operating across the Rome, Reggio Emilia, Siena and Cagliari regions in Italy, as well as in many other countries (Austria, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Russia and Spain).
The organisation was hierarchically structured and defined by rigid rules, including the provision of funds to the obshak, a fund used as a common financial deposit.
This operational result was the joint effort of two specific operations – Locusta and Horo Cash – which had already allowed the investigators to arrest 67 suspects for single property crimes. Once released, these suspects were moved by the criminal organisation around different regions of Italy and in several European countries, often with forged identity documents, to avoid being detected by law enforcement.
With its unique capabilities, Europol provided crucial support to the Italian authorities since 2011, by detecting the individual crimes perpetrated by the criminals across different states and linking them to the criminal organisation, thus benefitting from the efforts of the other European Union countries involved.
Moreover, during the action, a Europol specialist with a mobile office was deployed on the spot, allowing investigators real-time access to Europol's databases.