With the support of Europol and Eurojust, the French Gendarmerie and Polish Criminal Police have dismantled an organised crime group suspected of having committed at least 36 cargo thefts for a total estimated damage of EUR 1.5 million. 15 properties were searched simultaneously this week in Gorzow (Poland) and Nancy (France), and 3 suspects arrested in each country.
Cargo theft in Europe is increasing in numbers of incidents, and also in the cost of lost goods, as the highly-organised criminal groups, originating mainly from Eastern Europe, frequently target high-value products. This organised crime group under investigation targeted trucks at unsecured parking sites in Eastern France, although it is believed the criminals’ activities span across several other EU countries.
International police cooperation was central in bringing these six suspects to justice. Involved from the very onset of the investigation in March 2017, Europol brought together the different police forces involved to help them connect the dots between their own national investigations and provided analytical support before and during the action day. A mobile office was deployed on-the-spot in Nancy to help with the cross checking of operational information against Europol’s databases. Investigation gathered during the action day is now being analysed, and a number of parallel investigations have been opened. Eurojust ensured a coordinating role on a judiciary level.
Operation GRAND FRET EST was supported by the European International Security Fund SPECTRE, an EU-financed project led by France targeting Europe’s most active mobile organised crime groups specialised in property crime. Supported by Europol, and with a total budget of EUR 800 000, Project SPECTRE comprises of 13 members: France, Germany, Lithuania, Romania, Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Latvia, Moldova, Spain and Ukraine.