Following the successful 2014 Archimedes, 2015 Blue Amber and 2016 Ciconia Alba operations, EU Member States, EU bodies1 and third partners2 have once again joined forces with Europol in this year’s Operation Dragon to counter organised crime networks involved in the priority crime areas3.
Operation Dragon is the fourth series of joint action days (JADs) covered by the 2014 – 2017 EU Policy Cycle targeting serious international and organised crime. Operation Dragon focuses on key crime hot spots and key criminal infrastructures in the EU and beyond.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers working on the ground receive live 24/7 operational support from a coordination centre located at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague. Here, liaison officers from the EU Member States and colleagues from other international partners coordinate the exchange of information and intelligence between national law enforcement authorities. Europol specialists and analysts provide support from the headquarters and also on the spot.
Operation Dragon has already had a significant impact on the international criminal landscape. Within the context of the EU policy cycle priority ‘cybercrime – payment card fraud’, law enforcement officers from all over the world detained 153 individuals suspected of flying using airline tickets purchased with stolen, compromised or fake credit card details. Operational actions were carried out in 230 airports across the world.
The multi-disciplinary approach of the operation enables law enforcement authorities to link together actions covering several different crime priorities and areas. This enhances the operational impact and ensures cost-effective cooperation between the law enforcement authorities involved.
The Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) of the Council of the EU has provided strategic guidance for the planning of the JADs and is monitoring their implementation.
1 European Commission, Eurojust, Frontex.
2 Albania, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Interpol, CCWP, MAOC.
3 Facilitation of Illegal Immigration, Trafficking in Human Beings, Counterfeit goods, Excise and MTIC Fraud, Synthetic Drugs, Cocaine and Heroin, Cybercrime, Illicit Firearms Trafficking, Organised Property Crime.