Record seizures hit synthetic drugs during the large-scale Joint Action Days 2019

11 October 2019
Press Release
Press Release/News
Drugs worth €85 million seized in first reports

Between 16 and 20 September and on the 25 September, Europol coordinated the EMPACT large-scale Joint Action Days 2019. The actions targeted synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances and, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, document fraud and environmental crime and involved law enforcement authorities from EU Member States, third-party countries and EU bodies *.

A huge hit to the European drug market with the first results 

Joint efforts of 16 Member States**, led by the Polish Central Bureau of Investigation have targeted drug traffickers across Europe. These activities brought in an important hit on drug trafficking networks pulling drugs worth more than €85 million out of the illegal market. As an example, 11.3 tonnes of MAPA pre-precursor were seized, disrupting the consequent production of amphetamines. Depending on production methods, this quantity of pre-precursors would have been enough to produce 6.3 tonnes of amphetamine worth nearly €63 million on the European market. This, added to the drugs worth €85 million seized, represents a serious hit against the European drug market.  

Other major seizures of narcotics within the drug trafficking hit include:

  • 1 300 kg of cocaine;
  • 22 kg and 1 107 cannabis plants; 
  • 19 601 ecstasy pills; 
  • 10.63 kg of amphetamine; 
  • 6 kg of MDMA

The overall results*** from all actions targeting drug and human trafficking, migrant smuggling and environmental crime include:

  • 411 arrests;
  • 54 potential victims of human trafficking identified; 
  • 1.1 million cigarettes and 1 223 kg of tobacco seized; 
  •  374 new investigations initiated;
  •  37 000+ law enforcement officers participating;
  • 475 000+ checks of persons (250 000+), means of transportation, postal packages, houses and warehouses;
  • 166 wildlife species seized;
  • 2 471 kg of illegal fisheries.

*Overall participation reported so far: 28 Member States, Switzerland, EFCA, Eurojust, Europol and Frontex 

**Participation to this action: 16 Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia)

***Preliminary results. Final results will follow. 

As the European hub for law enforcement cooperation, Europol coordinated the 2019 large-scale Joint Action Days and supported the operational activities with secure information exchange, cross-checking of data against Europol’s databases and operational analysis, as well as on-the-spot operational support.

The EMPACT Joint Action Days 2019 are part of the operational activities planned in the framework of the EU Policy Cycle. Five other EMPACT Joint Action Days have taken place so far in 2019. 

The latest action days, JAD Danube 4 and JAD Western Balkans together resulted in 301 arrests and multiple seizures, including 163 forged or falsified documents, 57 weapons and firearms and more than 900 pieces of ammunition. 

The previous Policy Cycle was marked by the successful operations 2017 Dragon (2017), Ciconia Alba (2016), Blue Amber (2015), and Archimedes (2014).

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. Drug trafficking, facilitation of illegal immigration, trafficking in human beings and environmental crime are one of the priorities for the Policy Cycle.