Garda take part in the largest international action against organised crime in EU

1027 people arrested, 30 children saved from trafficking and multiple drug seizures during operation

Named Operation Archimedes, police say  1,027 people have been arrested so far, drug seizures have included 599kg of cocaine, 200kg of heroin and 1.3 tonnes of cannabis, and that 30 Romanian children have been saved from trafficking. Cannabis plant pictured. File photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Named Operation Archimedes, police say 1,027 people have been arrested so far, drug seizures have included 599kg of cocaine, 200kg of heroin and 1.3 tonnes of cannabis, and that 30 Romanian children have been saved from trafficking. Cannabis plant pictured. File photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

 

Police from 34 countries, including Ireland, have taken part in what they describe as the largest internationally co-ordinated action against organised crime in the European Union.

Named Operation Archimedes, police say that 1,027 people have been arrested so far, drug seizures have included 599kg of cocaine, 200kg of heroin and 1.3 tonnes of cannabis, and that 30 Romanian children have been saved from trafficking.

Between September 15th and 23rd, law enforcement authorities from 34 countries, co-ordinated and supported by the Dutch-based international police co-operation agency, Europol, joined forces and targeted organised crime groups and their infrastructures across the EU.

The agency says this involved a series of actions in hundreds of locations, with the cooperation of Eurojust, Frontex and Interpol, according to a statement, published in Ireland by An Garda Siochana, which participates in Interpol.

“Operation Archimedes is a milestone in attempts by the law enforcement community to deliver concerted action against organised crime groups in Europe,” said the statement.

The operation concentrated on attacking people trafficking, illegal immigration, synthetic drugs supplying and trafficking in cocaine, heroin and guns, counterfeiting, excise fraud, organised property crime and cybercrime, particularly transnational child sex offenders and payment fraud.

Interpol said that some 10,000 illegal migrants were detected as a result of the operation.

“The scale of the operation is unprecedented and the outcome, with over 1,000 arrests made across Europe, a reminder to even the most serious criminal groups that the international law enforcement community is determined to combat their illegal activities,” says Rob Wainwright, director of Europol. “This week, as EU police chiefs gather at Europol for the 2014 European Police Chiefs Convention, our focus will be on how our combined strengths can best be applied to bringing down even more of the organised criminal groups that threaten the safety and wellbeing of our society,” he said.

The Garda say their part of Operation Archimedes included 106 arrests for a series of alleged crimes, including burglary, handling stolen property, theft, robbery, drug offences, counterfeit, causing criminal damage, possession of an offensive weapon, public order offences and sex crimes.

The garda said these figures were interim results and final statistics were not yet to hand.

According to Interpol, the operation focussed on disrupting “of the most threatening criminal groups and top targets active in key crime hotspots across Europe”.

Apart fromm the involvement of EU member states, police were also involved in Australia, Colombia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and the USA.

Interpol said that police activities took place in “hundreds of locations including airports, border-crossing points, ports and specific crime hot spots in towns and cities all of which had featured variously in Europol’s Socta [Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment], criminal intelligence reports from EU Member States and third countries and analytical products drawn from Europol’s criminal databases”.