Early on the morning of June 4th, 2013, French police teams made 42 simultaneous arrests in Nice, Bordeaux, Nimes, Lyon, Paris and other French cities within the framework of a complex investigation against Russian-speaking, mobile, organised crime groups. Suspects of various nationalities (Georgia, Armenia, Russian Federation, Azerbaijan), including "soldiers", "regional supervisers" and 3 thieves-in-law were arrested; the majority will be charged with criminal association, organised thefts, handling of stolen goods and cigarettes’ smuggling. The vast criminal network was headed by a "thief-in-law" based in Nice, who was controlling the criminal activities of his clan in the South of France. The house searches carried out in the residences of the suspects revealed a significant amount of cash, several kilos of gold and jewellery, fake ID cards, firearms and large quantities of smuggled cigarettes. Active criminal links were investigated in Germany, Greece, Belgium, Italy and Cyprus.
The investigation started in September 2011 and was run by the Judiciary Police Directorates (DIPJ) Bordeaux and Nice, and by the Central Office for Combating Organised Crime (OCLO). On the action day, 300 officers were involved, performing various roles and tasks for the successful outcome of the operation. Europol provided on-the-spot support for the operation in 2 locations, running cross-checks (Bordeaux and Nice) and performing the forensic extraction of data from telephones and computers.
The French Minister of Interior congratulated the parties involved on the results achieved and emphasised keeping up the fight against OCGs originating from Eastern Europe.