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U.S Department of Justice representatives visited SELEC

On April 27th 2017, the Director General of SELEC welcomed the visit of the U.S Department of Justice delegation consisting of Deputy Director of the Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT), Mr. Erick Peterson, †the Regional Director of the Central and Eastern Europe Office of OPDAT, Mr. Paul Vaky, and Deputy Assistant Director of the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), Mr. Stephen Fields.

The members of the delegation were interested about the latest developments in SELEC and the current activities of the prosecutorial network of SEEPAG, with a focus on the support provided by SELEC to the countries of the Southeast European region in their endeavors in fighting recent organized crime threats.

Having regard the long-term partnership with U.S.A, the subject of further enhancing the cooperation at operational level was reviewed.

Albanian law enforcement officers prized for the successful joint investigation ROVER

On April 19th 2017, at the Albanian State Police Headquarters in Tirana, the ceremony for granting the awards for the successful Operation ROVER was held in the presence of the General Director for Investigating Organized Crime and Serious Crimes, Mr. Ardian Cipa, the Director for Investigating Narcotics and Illicit Trafficking, Mr. Idajet Faskaj and the Albanian Police Liaison Officer posted at SELEC, Mr. Ervin Dervina.

With SELEC’s support,joint investigation ROVER, developed by Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, which targeted an organized criminal group dealing with smuggling of stolen vehicles and other criminal acts connected with motor vehicles, succeeded with 11 persons arrested, 21 vehicles seized in Republic of Albania and 28 vehicles seized in Montenegro.

Bosnian officers prized by SELEC for a successful joint investigation concerning illegal migration

On April 18th, 2017, at the Headquarters of the Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, the ceremony for granting the awards for the successful Operation KABATAS was held in the presence of the Director of†Border Police, Mr. Zoran Galic, the Deputy Director of†Border Police, Mr. Zijad Srabovic and the Bosnian SELEC Liaison Officer, Mr. Eldar Jahic.

Operation KABATAS targeted an organized criminal group, dealing with migrants ‘smuggling. Taking advantage of the free visa regime and with the support of partners from various countries from Southeast Europe linked to the organized criminal group, 168 migrants illegally crossed the borders, with forged documents, in order to reach Western European countries.

Based on the platform provided by SELEC for an effective cooperation and rapid exchange of information, the operation was successfully finalized, the Bosnian law enforcement authorities involved being awarded by SELEC, as an appreciation for the outstanding joint collaboration and the results obtained.

Significant quantities of drugs seized by Albanian authorities

With SELEC’s support and based on the swift information exchange through the SELEC channel, on April 11th, 2017, the Albanian law enforcement authorities successfully finalized Operation ALIAS that targeted dismantling an organized criminal group dealing with drug trafficking. The joint investigation involved competent authorities from Republic of Albania, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Hellenic Republic.

Using the green border, the organized criminal group was trafficking cannabis from Republic of Albania directly to Hellenic Republic or through The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The joint investigation succeeded with 31 persons being arrested and 244,818 kg cannabis, 425 cannabis seeds, 1,3 kg heroin, 247, 3 gr cocaine being seized.

SELEC awards the Bulgarian law enforcement officers

On March 21st, 2017 the case officers that conducted the successful joint investigations Morning Star 2, Danube and Odza were awarded during the ceremony that took place during the annual activity evaluation of the Bulgarian General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime, in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General and all heads of departments from all county regions.

SELEC provided tailored support to the competent Bulgarian authorities during the above-mentioned prized operations, so that Operation Morning Star 2 succeeded with the seizure of 80 kg of heroin destined for Western Europe, Operation Danube finalized with the dismantling of an organized criminal group dealing with illegal production of tobacco and cigarettes smuggling, whilst during Operation Odza a quantity of 108 kg of marijuana was detained.

As a recognition of the significant results obtained through the efficient joint cooperation and swift exchange of information through SELEC’ secure channel, SELEC awards bi-annually several joint investigations conducted within SELEC’s framework.

Financial Consultative Group meeting

Bucharest, April 12th, 2017 - The 6th Meeting of the SELEC Financial Consultative Group, held at the SELEC Headquarters on 12 of April 2017, was attended by experts from Republic of Bulgaria, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hellenic Republic, Romania, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Turkey.

Opening remarks and presentation of the main issues related to SELEC’s budget were addressed by Mrs. Snejana Maleeva, Director for Legal and Internal Affairs of SELEC, who also briefed the participants about the execution of the Budget 2016 and the conclusions of the Audit Commission, as provided in the Audit Report for the year 2016.

The discussions of the expert meeting were related to the revised budget for the year 2017, the budget proposal for 2018 and the Five-year Financial Plan 2017 - 2021.

The documents presented by SELEC’s Financial Unit were endorsed by the members of the Financial Consultative Group following to be presented for approval at the upcoming Council meeting.

Turkish law enforcement officers awarded by SELEC

On March 16th 2017, the ceremony for granting the bi-annual awards, as an appreciation for the successful joint investigations conducted by the Turkish law enforcement officers, took place at the Headquarters of the Turkish National Police General Directorate, in Ankara/ Republic of Turkey.

The case officers that conducted Operation Morning Star 2 and Operation Kabatas, investigations supported by SELEC, were prized in the presence of Mr. Selami Altinok, Police General Director, Mr. Metin ÷zkan, Head of Foreign Relations Department and Mr. Murat Caliskan, Turkish Police Liaison Officer posted at SELEC.

Operation Morning Star 2 targeted drug trafficking from Republic of Turkey, via Republic of Bulgaria, with destination Western European countries, while Operation Kabatas targeted dismantling an organized criminal group involved in various factions of terrorist organizations, dealing with migrants’ smuggling.

Successful joint investigations awarded by SELEC

SELEC awarded the successful joint investigations carried out in the framework of SELEC, by the law enforcement authorities of its Member States, as an appreciation for the excellent cooperation and significant results obtained.

For the second semester of 2016, on the first place were prized Operation MORNING STAR 2, targeting drug trafficking and Operation ROVER, targeting smuggling of stolen vehicles; on the Second place, Operation KABATAS, targeting migrants’ smuggling and Operation DANUBE, targeting illegal production of tobacco products and cigarettes smuggling, and on the Third Place, Operation ODZA, targeting drug trafficking and Operation PESTA, targeting migrants’ smuggling. (read more)

7th meeting of the Environment and Nature Related Crimes Task Force

In the continuous efforts to strengthen the regional cooperation in this field, the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) organized on 5th of April 2017, in Bucharest, Romania, the 7th meeting of the Environment and Nature Related Crimes Task Force with the participation of representatives from SELEC Member States and partners.

The meeting was opened by the Director General of SELEC, Mr. Toni Jakimovski, the Director for Operations of SELEC, Mr. Romulus Ungureanu and the Task Force Manager, Mr. Endre Hosszu.

The current situation and the activities developed in the past year in the framework of the Environment and Nature Related Crimes Task Force were presented by Mr. Ungureanu, who also mentioned that the most common environmental crimes encompassing organized criminality are the trafficking in illicit waste and the trafficking of endangered species.

The main objective of the meeting was to provide a platform for presenting the national situations, discuss regional approaches in preventing and countering environment and nature related crimes and exchanging experiences in this field. (read more)

The Head of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe Secretariat meets the Director General of SELEC

Bucharest, April 4th 2017 - Mr. Ottavio Bottecchia, Head of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe Secretariat, visited SELEC Headquarters, being welcomed by the Director General of SELEC, Mr. Toni Jakimovski.

Having in view the distinct status and objectives of both SELEC and PCC Secretariat, Mr. Jakimovski and Mr. Bottecchia agreed on further enhancing the cooperation between the two organizations, within their field of competences.

As a basic framework for partnership, in 2010 SELEC concluded a Letter of Intent with PCC Secretariat, thus the prospective of concluding an agreement was considered during the meeting.

14th Meeting of the Stolen Vehicles Task Force

Theft and fraudulent acquisition of motor vehicles remains a lucrative business for the organized criminal groups involved in this criminal activity.

In the constant effort to support the Member States’ law enforcement authorities to prevent and counter this type of crime, SELEC organizes annually the meetings of the Stolen Vehicles Task Force, with Hungary’s support, as Coordinator of the Task Force.

The 14th meeting of the Stolen Vehicles Task Force organized by SELEC on 29 March 2017 at its headquarters in Bucharest, gathered experts in the field from all SELEC Member States and representatives of partner countries and organizations.

Mr. Toni Jakimovski, Director General, Mr. Romulus Ungureanu, Director for Operations and Mr. Endre Hosszu, Hungarian Police Officer, Manager of the Task Force, addressed opening remarks and made an overview of the activities carried out in the framework of the SELEC Stolen Vehicles Task Force. (read more)

Visit of the United Kingdomís Anti-Slavery Commissioner

With a view to the participation in the Workshop “Working Together to Combat Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking” organized by British Embassy in Bucharest, and in line with the objective of SELEC in countering trafficking in human beings and illegal migration, the Director for Operations of SELEC, Mr. Romulus Ungureanu received the visit of Mr. Kevin Hyland, UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

The discussions focused on the efforts towards preventing and combating this type of crime, having regard its trans-border character and the situation in the region, as well as the possibilities of enhancing the cooperation regarding this phenomenon.

United Kingdom is a long term active partner of SELEC, currently holding the status of Observer in SELEC.

A delegation of the General Directorate of the National French Gendarmerie visited SELEC

Bucharest, March 28th, 2017 - The Management of SELEC welcomed the visit of the delegation of the General Directorate of the National French Gendarmerie headed by General Jean-Pierre Michel, Deputy Director of the Judicial Police.

Mr. Toni Jakimovski, Director General of SELEC, presented †the mission and the activities carried out by SELEC and SEEPAG, mentioning that French Republic is currently an Observer to SELEC, hence reviewing its status, in order to become an Operational partner to SELEC, would be of mutual benefit.

The cooperation with SELEC is open to any state, international organization and body that has an interest in the law enforcement cooperation in the Southeast European region, expresses its readiness to cooperate with SELEC and to contribute to the fulfilment of SELEC’s objectives.

The Director General of SELEC met Croatian law enforcement officials

On 14 of March 2017, the Director General of SELEC, Mr. Toni Jakimovski, paid a visit to Republic of Croatia, where he met with high officials of the Police and Customs authorities.

During the meetings with the General Police Director, Mr. Marko Srdarevic and the Director General of Customs Administration, Mr. Hrvoje Covic, Croatia’s position in SELEC was discussed, as well as the need of posting a Croatian Liaison Officer at the SELEC Headquarters in order to facilitate the rapid exchange of information through SELEC channel and to further strengthen the cooperation at operational level with SELEC and its Member States.

Mr. Jakimovski mentioned the benefits of the regional cooperation in the framework of SELEC and the support offered to its Member States in the information exchanges and assistance requests’ process, as well in conducting joint investigations and regional operations with the common aim of preventing and countering organized crime in Southeast Europe.

SELEC hosted the Conference on preventing and detection of the illicit traffic of tobacco products

Bucharest, March 16th 2017 - SELEC hosted today at its premises the Conference on preventing and detection of the illicit traffic of tobacco products organized by the Romanian Customs General Directorate with the participation of heads of customs services from Republic of Bulgaria, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Serbia and Ukraine, as well as customs attaches to Romania, directors of the regional customs directorate of Romania, representatives of EUBAM and of the main cigarettes’ manufacturers.

The conference aimed discussing aspects related to the inter-institutional cooperation among the customs administrations in the region and debriefing the targeted monitoring operation codenamed “Shield” conducted in February 2017 by the customs services of Romania and its neighboring countries, in order to detect and counteract the illicit traffic of tobacco products.

Opening remarks were addressed by Mr. Dorel Fronea, Vice President of the Romanian National Agency for Fiscal Administration, Mr. Ionut Misa, Secretary of State, Ministry of Finance of Romania, Mr. Bogdan - Nicolae Stan, President of the Romanian National Agency for Fiscal Administration and the Director for Operations of SELEC, Mr. Romulus Ungureanu.

Mr. Ungureanu presented the objective and activities of SELEC, with a focus on the smuggling of cigarettes phenomenon in the region, highlighting the endeavors of the SELEC Member States in preventing and combating this type of crime. The Director for Operations of SELEC also mentioned that smuggling of cigarettes causes significant financial losses for the states’ revenues and that all available tools should be used in order to tackle this crime more effectively.