Ten suspected members of an organized crime group who trafficked large quantities of heroin to Europe have been arrested in Belgium, the Netherlands and Romania.
On May 10, Romanian authorities made a historic seizure in the Black Sea port of Constantia of 1,452 kilograms of heroin. The Class A drugs had a street value of 45 million euros.
The drugs were concealed in a in a container with construction materials that was being transported from Iran.
It was the second-largest seizure of heroin in the European Union in recent years. It was the result of a year-long investigation targeting a high-profile criminal network involved in large-scale drug trafficking, Eurojust said . on Wednesday.
The final destination for the Class A drugs was a company in Belgium. The ring leader had had established a complex logistical and legal trade infrastructure to facilitate the import of drugs to be distributed across Europe.
He used a number of companies across the EU to organize the distribution flow and conceal the illegal trafficking behind the façade of legal trade.
A controlled delivery involving nine countries was swiftly arranged through Eurojust and with the support of Europol. They facilitated the information exchange and provided analytical support.
Planning and information sharing allowed authorities to monitor the transit of the shipment across the different territories. It culminated in the simultaneous arrests as the shipment arrived at its destination.
Controlled delivery is used when a consignment of illicit drugs is detected and allowed to go forward under the control and surveillance of law enforcement officers. This enables investigator to secure evidence against the organizers of such illicit drug traffic.
The suspected leader of the drugs smuggling ring and another suspect were arrested in the Netherlands. Seven suspects were arrested in Belgium and one in Romania. Several house searches were undertaken to secure evidence.
Ms Daniela Buruiana, Romania’s Eurojust representative, said: „Close cooperation and coordination across multiple jurisdictions both at judicial and police level is key to effectively investigating and prosecuting cross-border drug trafficking cases.”
“Without the timely, professional and coordinated intervention of the competent national authorities involved in this operation, the drugs would have reached the market.(This would have) created serious consequences for people’s lives,” she added.
Romania’s Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice headed the probe. It was joined by the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism and Romanian police. probe.
Judicial and law enforcement authorities of Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic supported the action.
Romanian authorities had been investigating the ring since July 20.