The Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) with the support of Europol experts in weapons and explosives arrested one individual in Seville on suspicion of being a member of a firearms-trafficking network with several links to North America.
The second phase of operation Alpes is the follow-up phase of an original investigation that saw the involvement of the the Federal Agency for State Protection and Counter Terrorism of Austria and the ringleader of the criminal network detained. The investigations after the first phase revealed that the criminal group had different facilitators in the United States in illegally supplying the ring with parts of weapons to assemble and produce new ones. The Spanish National Police understand that the detained suspect is one of the network’s main perpetrators and is accused of illicit firearms trafficking and for being a member of an organised crime group.
Europol experts played a key role during this phase of the operation by exchanging information and cross-checking data. A mobile office was also deployed to Spain for on-the-spot support on the day of the operation. Operation Alpes was launched as part of the operational action plan EMPACT illicit firearms trafficking, which strives to respond to the threat originating from firearms trafficking, as reflected in the EU Policy Cycle 2018-2021.
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 March 2017 the Council of the EU decided to continue the EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime for the 2018 - 2021 period. This multiannual Policy Cycle aims to tackle the most significant threats posed by organised and serious international crime to the EU in a coherent and methodological manner. 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. Illicit firearms trafficking is one of the priorities for the Policy Cycle. It aims to disrupt OCGs involved in the illicit trafficking, distribution and use of firearms.