Operation Mobile 4 sees 23 countries clamp down on smuggling and trafficking

10 November 2021
News Article
Press Release/News
Joint action of 23 European countries alongside Frontex, Interpol and Europol successfully intercepts several criminal activities

Operation Mobile 4, a two-week operation targeting multiple forms of organised property crime and fraud, has successfully concluded its November action days after thousands of border and roadside checks across Europe. Taking place in 16 European countries and further 6 Balkan states, operatives successfully intercepted hundreds of stolen vehicles and vehicle parts, as well as 1 000 irregular migrants and 31 people smugglers. 

Operation Mobile 4 is a wide-ranging international operation co-led by Greece, Germany, Poland, Frontex, and Europol. Police Officers and Border Guards from 23 European and West Balkan states* were involved in the investigation. Europol provided remote support by crosschecking in real-time the information collected in the field against its databases.

Results from joint action days between 11-22 October 

  • 518 stolen vehicles
  • 400 stolen car parts
  • 140 fraudulent documents
  • 4 stolen boats
  • 10 000 database checks
  • 1 000 irregular migrants
  • 31 people smugglers

A multi-pronged operation against smuggling

Operation Mobile 4 is a wide-ranging international operation co-led by Greece, Germany, Poland, Frontex, and Europol. Police Officers and Border Guards from 23 European and West Balkan states* were involved in the investigation. Europol provided remote support by crosschecking in real-time the information collected in the field against its databases.

During the two weeks of actions from law enforcement, officers pursued criminal activity on multiple fronts, carrying out vehicle checks, border searches and database analysis. The main focus related to stolen vehicles, vehicle parts, and migrant smuggling, with investigators also targeting trafficking in drugs, firearms and endangered species.

The activities led to the seizure of 518 stolen vehicles. Officers also recovered several stolen luxury cars from Western Europe they found in Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Slovakia, as well as 4 stolen boats. The authorities that took part in Mobile 4 observed an increasing trend of smuggling of stolen trucks, buses, agriculture machinery, and holiday cars such as campervans.

Officers simultaneously raided chop shops, which dismantle stolen vehicles and facilitate parts smuggling, and performed roadside checks. This yielded 400 stolen vehicle parts, as well as 140 forged IDs and vehicle documents. 

Further checks by law enforcement on road vehicles and boats detected 1 000 irregular migrants being smuggled into the EU, leading to the arrest of 31 migrant smugglers.

Large scale cooperation and information sharing

The close cooperation of law enforcement agencies enabled investigators to successfully target a wide range of criminal activity under Operation Mobile 4. Law enforcement also received support from private actors in the vehicle manufacturing and rental sector, which helped investigators be more efficient and precise on the action days.

*Countries involved:

Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo**, Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia were involved in the operation on the spot.

** This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

 

EMPACT

In 2010 the European Union set up a four-year Policy Cycle to ensure greater continuity in the fight against serious international and organised crime. In 2017 the Council of the EU decided to continue the EU Policy Cycle for the 2018 - 2021 period. It aims to tackle the most significant threats posed by organised and serious international crime to the EU. This is achieved by improving and strengthening cooperation between the relevant services of EU Member States, institutions and agencies, as well as non-EU countries and organisations, including the private sector where relevant. Property Crime is one of the priorities for the Policy Cycle.