17 arrested in Belgium and Germany in takedown of clan-based drug trafficking network

Europol supported the German and Belgian authorities in taking down an organised crime group involved in large-scale drugs trafficking and money laundering across Europe.

On 25 May, over 300 officers, including special intervention and K9 teams, carried out a series of simultaneous raids in both countries against the members of this family-structured criminal group, composed mainly of Albanian nationals/dual Albanian nationals.

The actions were coordinated from a command centre located in Brussels, Belgium, with Europol officers deployed in the field.

Results of the action day
26 property searches (21 in Belgium, 5 in Germany)
17 arrests (15 in Belgium, 2 in Germany)

Seizures include:

  • A indoor cannabis plantation
  • 15 kilos of cannabis
  • 3 kilos of synthetic drugs and 3 kilos of cocaine
  • 13 vehicles, most of the equipped with professional hidden compartments
  • 3 firearms
  • Over € 700 000 Euro in cash

The criminal organisation under target specialised in the trafficking of heroin and cocaine.

Investigators uncovered that the drugs were being smuggled in containers into Belgium, before being moved to Germany in vehicles equipped with sophisticated hidden compartments. The drugs were then distributed throughout Europe.

Several hundreds of thousands of euros in cash were seized over the course of the investigation.

Europol supported this investigation by providing tailored expertise and extensive analysis support and facilitating the exchange of information through its secure channels. A number of operational meetings were organised by Europol all over Europe with a view to filling the investigative gaps at the international level and coordinating the simultaneous actions aimed at dismantling the entire structure of this criminal group.

The investigation and the Action Day itself have been supported by the @ON Network funded by the EU (Project ISF4@ON) led by the Italian Antimafia Investigation Directorate (DIA).