The Spanish National Police, in cooperation with Europol and Lithuanian authorities, have dismantled a multi-criminal Lithuanian network belonging to the Lithuanian ‘Bulotinai’ organised crime group. Ten people have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in labour exploitation and responsible for 18 house robberies.
In April 2011, and thanks to the work of Europol, Spanish agents started investigating an organised criminal group, formed by Lithuanian citizens, who were exploiting up to 40 Lithuanian workers in Spain. The victims’ income in Spain was paid through an interim staff agency in Valencia but then the criminal organisation, took around 50% of those salaries to ‘cover’, for example, housing, food, rent and the use of working tools. The victims received threats against their families to ensure they would not contact police.
The members of the criminal group also specialised in robbing in villas in the Valencia region. After spending several days obtaining information about their targets, the criminals would rob up to five homes in a single night.
Besides the 10 arrests, seven house searches were carried out in Gandía (4), Daimús, Tavernes de la Valldigna and Almoines, where four firearms, a pistol-pen, jewellery, high-spec televisions, laptops, electronic devices, scuba diving equipment and other items were seized.
Europol was able to provide the Spanish investigators with deeper knowledge about the criminal group, which opened up the investigation. In addition, Europol also provided on-the-spot support to the operation in late February 2012 when a team of two specialists, with the mobile office and the UFED (Universal Forensic Extraction Device), were deployed in Gandía in cooperation with the Europol Spanish National Unit and the Spanish Liaison Bureau.