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Operation "The Pack" targeting people smuggling led to several arrest

With the support of SELEC, on 19 of November 2016, the Bulgarian and Serbian law enforcement authorities concluded Operation THE PACK  targeting an organized criminal group dealing with illegal migration. The migrants, having Afghan origins and heading towards Western Europe countries, were captured at the Bulgarian/Serbian border.

Following the swift exchange of information through SELEC the joint investigation succeeded with the arrest of 5 traffickers and 26 migrants, and seizure of 8 vehicles used for smuggling. Legal means were used, as the offenders tried to escape arrest.

Further results are expected as the investigation is still ongoing.

The 13th session of the SELEC Council

Bucharest, November 17th, 2016 - In the framework of the 13th session of the Council, high level representatives of Police and Customs from SELEC Member States, as well as members of the Council and SELEC Partners’ delegates, gathered today at the SELEC Headquarters in Bucharest/Romania, to celebrate SELEC’s 5th anniversary.

SELEC’s main achievements and activities were introduced to the audience by Mr. Toni Jakimovski, SELEC Director General, who presented with this occasion an outlook of the future of SELEC. Thus, in line with these objectives, bilateral meetings took place with the view of discussing the possibilities to further enhance the cooperation with the Member States and Partners’ law enforcement authorities.

According to the rotation procedure provided by the Rules of Procedure of the Council, the Chairmanship was transferred to Montenegro and the Vice- Chairmanship to Republic of Croatia.

As a recognition of the significant contribution to the work of SELEC, Certificates of Honor were awarded to Mr. Fredolin Lecari, representative of Republic of Moldova and Mr. Aleksandar Todosiev, representative of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Chairman and respectively the Vice- Chairman of the Council during year 2016.

The Council, SELEC’s highest decision-making body, has regular annual meetings, the next session of the Council being tentatively scheduled for May 2017.

Container Security Task Force Meeting

The 9th meeting of the Container Security Task Force organized by SELEC was held on 15th of November 2016 in Bucharest/Romania, with the participation of representatives from SELEC Member States and partners, such as French Republic, INTERPOL, Kingdom of Spain, Ukraine, UNODC and USA.

The Director for Operations of SELEC, Mr. Romulus Ungureanu, and the Task Force Coordinator, Mrs. Aggeliki Matsouka, made an overview of the past and future activities to be developed within the framework of the Task Force.

Container shipping is the most common way of bringing large quantities of commercial goods all over the world; however, containers may not be exclusively used for the transport of legal commodities. Organized criminal groups use containers for transporting different illicit commodities such as drugs and drug precursors, smuggled cigarettes, counterfeit goods, hazardous waste, dual use goods, a/o.

SELEC Member States’ experts discussed on the current situation in the Container Security field, namely the new trends, challenges encountered, investigations conducted and made proposals in this regard, overall aiming at strengthening regional cooperation and set the potential directions to be followed. (read more)

Almost 100 illegal migrants apprehended during a joint action supported by SELEC

The Bulgarian law enforcement authorities joined forces with the Turkish Police in the Operation codenamed TAKSIM which targeted dismantling an organized criminal group which was involved in illegal migration.

On 6th of November 2016, based on the information received from the Bulgarian law enforcement authorities, the Turkish Police managed to detain two traffickers and stop 27 migrants, originating from Syria, Iraq and Bangladesh, that were attempting crossing illegally, by boat, the Aegean sea, heading towards Greece. During the same operation, the following day, in Bodrum, two other organizers and 72 illegal migrants were arrested.

The investigation was initiated 3 months ago following the exchange of information facilitated by the Bulgarian and Turkish Liaison Officers and one operational meeting supported by SELEC.

The case is ongoing, further results being expected to be reported.

Stolen Vehicles Task Force Meeting

Bucharest, November 9th, 2016 - Vehicle crime can be regarded as subject to basic economic principles, cost/benefit ratio and demand/supply principle, as the organized criminal groups have a high level of organization and coordination, permanently exploiting the opportunities to increase profits.
In the constant effort to support the Member States’ law enforcement authorities to prevent and counter this crime, on the 8th of November 2016, SELEC organized at its premises the 13th meeting of the Stolen Vehicles Task Force.

The Director for Operations of SELEC, Mr. Romulus Nicolae Ungureanu, and the Task Force Manager, Mr. Endre Hosszu, chaired the meeting and addressed the participants from SELEC Member States and partner’ countries. (read more)

The Director General of SELEC meets the Deputy Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 28 October 2016, Mr. Toni Jakimovski, Director General of SELEC, met with the Deputy Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Mijo Kresic.

During the visit, Mr. Jakimovski mentioned the good cooperation established between Bosnia and Herzegovina and SELEC in preventing and countering organized crime.

In order to enhance the law enforcement cooperation, the Director General encouraged the Bosnian officials to use more the SELEC platform for exchanging information, highlighting the benefits for Bosnian Police and Customs authorities.

Mr. Jakimovski also underlined the role and the importance of supporting the Liaison Officer posted at SELEC, being the direct communication link with the Member State’ competent authorities.

The parties agreed to continue providing assistance and join the efforts for further fighting organized crime and make the region more secure.

SELEC Director for Operations attended the Santa Marta Group Conference

Police chiefs, bishops, religious sisters, representatives from civil society, members of the Santa Marta Group, as well as representatives of international organizations such as SELEC and Europol, joined on 26 - 27 October 2016, in the Vatican, to share and encourage good practices in the struggle against human trafficking.

“Trafficking in human beings is a hideous  crime which affects our society and represents a modern day slavery. It is up to all the stakeholders to take action against it and to diminish the terrible effects of exploitation of human beings through a concerted effort toward securing and rescuing the victims and dismantle the organised crime groups operating in this area. This event represents an excellent model of how different institutions, organisations and civil society are working together for the benefit of the citizens “ Mr. Romulus Ungureanu, SELEC Director for Operations, said on this occasion.

The Santa Marta Group, launched in 2014, is an alliance of international police chiefs and bishops from around the world working together with civil society in a process endorsed by Pope Francis, to eradicate human trafficking and modern day slavery.

SELEC hosted the Pan-European Conference on Assets Recovery

Bucharest, October 25th 2016 - The 6th Pan- European High Level Conference on Assets Recovery Offices, organized by the Romanian National Agency for Management of Seized Assets was held in the period 19-21 October 2016, with the participation of experts in the field of recovery of proceeds of crime from EU and non-EU states, representatives from specialized Romanian institutions, as well as from several European agencies.

The aim of the conference was to discuss issues related to the identification and tracing of criminal assets and to share Member States’ practices on confiscation.

SELEC hosted one day of the conference, during which the Director General of SELEC, Mr. Toni Jakimovski, made an extensive presentation of SELEC, it’s mission, activities and results, highlighting that an effective regional law enforcement cooperation is essential for preventing and countering transborder organized crime in the Southeast European region.

The President of the German Customs Investigation Bureau visits SELEC

On October 21st 2016, Mr. Toni Jakimovski, the Director General of SELEC received a delegation from the German Customs Investigation Bureau (ZKA), headed by President Norbert Drude.

Mr. Jakimovski mentioned about the current initiatives of the Center, the increasing number of exchanges of information and joint investigations, and the benefits of the SELEC work in the Southeast Europe.

It was underlined also the great support of Federal Republic of Germany to SELEC and its importance as partner of SELEC.

The President of ZKA confirmed that SELEC is offering an excellent platform for the swift exchange of information and networking, and ensured that they will continue to be an active collaborator at operational level.

Federal Republic of Germany is a long-term partner of the Center, currently holding an Observer status to SELEC.

4th Interpol Global Trafficking in Human Beings Conference

On 19-21 October 2016, SELEC participated at the 4th Interpol Global Trafficking in Human Beings Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, conference which brought together law enforcement personnel (investigators, prosecutors and communicators), representatives of international organizations and NGOs.

The purpose of the conference was to support the understanding of new trends in trafficking in human beings, to promote and enhance international cooperation and to develop strategies to combat human trafficking worldwide.

“International organisations contribute to victim’s identification process on at least three main directions: drafting and compiling guidelines, concept papers and multinational strategies and policies; coordinating raising awareness and international advocacy and providing operational support to law enforcement authorities on concrete activities in the framework of investigations against trafficking in human beings. Acknowledging the impact of every moment of exploitation, reducing the trafficking period of time should be a priority for all the identification mechanisms in place, in a continuous process of improvement and adapting the actions of all the stakeholders” stated the Director for Operations of SELEC, Mr. Romulus Nicolae Ungureanu.

Financial and Computer Crime Task Force Meeting

Bucharest, October 18th 2016 - Due to extent of Internet as a communication and commerce tool and the dynamic interconnections built globally, financial and computer crimes became a very serious problem with a strong negative impact on the economic and social environments, generating considerable losses to individuals, businesses and governments. Hence, the resilient cooperation among the law enforcement experts has an essential role in countering these serious and growing threats.

SELEC, in its constant effort to further enhance this collaboration, organized the annual meeting of the Financial and Computer Crime Task Force, which was held during 13 - 14 October 2016, in Ohrid/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with the participation of experts from SELEC Member States and representatives of the private sector.

The meeting was opened by the Director General of SELEC, Mr. Toni Jakimovski, the Director for Operations of SELEC, Mr. Romulus Nicolae Ungureanu and Mr. Oliver Andonov, Deputy Minister of Interior of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Mr. Jakimovski, SELEC Director General,  mentioned about SELEC’s expertise and its endeavors in preventing an countering financial and computer crime, yet cybercrime is a fast-growing area of crime, new trends in cybercrime emerging continuously. SELEC’s role is of utmost importance, having in view that most cybercrimes are transnational. (read more)

Visit of the Director General in Republic of Albania

On October 14, 2016, the Director General of SELEC, Mr. Toni Jakimovski, paid a visit to Republic of Albania, where he met with high officials of the Albanian State Police, Ministry of Interior and Customs Administration.

During the meeting with the Director of the Albanian State Police, Mr. Haki Cako, the Director of the General Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Serious Crimes, Mr. Ardian Cipa and the Director for Countering Terrorism, Mr. Gledis Nano, it was discussed the necessity to further enhance the cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime and terrorism.

With this occasion, Mr. Jakimovski handed over to the Director of the Albanian State Police the Certificate of Appreciation related to the Operation BALKAN, which was awarded by SELEC with the First prize for the 1st semester of 2016.

The Director General of SELEC met also the Deputy Minister of Interior of Albania, Mr. Stefan CIPA  who assured that the Albanian State Police will continue to support operationally the efforts in combating transborder organized crime. During the meeting it was highlighted the importance of a coordinated approach of the law enforcement authorities of the member states, in the framework of the SELEC Convention.

During the working visit in Republic of Albania, Mr. Jakimovski discussed about SELEC also with the Director General of Customs Administration, Ms. Belinda Ikonomi, who ensured the Director General of the entire support and underlined that all concerned actors should strive for a swift exchange of information which is one of the key factors in effectively prevent and fight organized crime.

SELEC awards successful operations conducted by the law enforcement authorities of its Member States

As an appreciation for the excellent results obtained through the joint investigations supported by SELEC, the law enforcement authorities of SELEC Member States were awarded for the operations conducted during the first semester of 2016, as follows:

First prize

OPERATION BALKAN, a case in the field of drug trafficking involving the competent authorities from Republic of Albania, Republic of Bulgaria, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Turkey, which led to the arrest of 28 persons including the organizer, arrest warrants issued for 13 persons and seizure of 26.684 kg heroin, 1.8 kg cocaine and 183.62 kg marijuana, 38,315 Euro, 1.5 million Leke, 4 weapons, 7 vehicles and 68 mobile phones. (read more)