An international organised crime network, responsible for large-scale synthetic drug trafficking to Scandinavia, has been broken up following an extensive operation by European police and customs authorities. The operation has resulted in the arrest of the key members of the criminal network, the seizure of over 150 kg of amphetamine and approximately 400 000 tablets of Rivotril, an anti-depressant medication.
The investigation was started in September 2011 by Hungarian, Norwegian, Slovakian and Swedish authorities. Germany supported the operation, arresting one of the main targets in Hamburg. Cooperation was launched with Europol and Eurojust when enquiries confirmed than an international criminal network was involved. As a result, Europol launched and coordinated ‘Operation Provence’, working together with relevant European law enforcement and judicial agencies. The aim of the operation was to dismantle the organised crime network and stop the large-scale trafficking of synthetic drugs.
During the operational phase of the investigation, 150 kg of amphetamine were seized in Sweden with an estimated street value of approximately 3 million euros - one of the largest seizures of amphetamine ever made in Sweden - and three suspects were arrested, as well as one in Germany and two in Slovakia. In addition to that, earlier in 2012 Norwegian law enforcement authorities seized 30 kg of amphetamine, 3 kg of heroin, 2 kg of hashish, large amounts of Rivotril, approximately 80 000 euros in cash, and arrested numerous suspects. Slovakian authorities also seized 54 600 pills of Rivotril.
Europol assisted the operation with the exchange of criminal intelligence, operational analysis and the facilitation of operational meetings (six operational meetings supported by Europol as well as one by Eurojust).