Frontex coordinated an international operation against cigarette smuggling, document fraud, migrant smuggling and smuggling of firearms at EU’s external borders.
The operation, known as Joint Action Days (JAD) Finestra 2, was co-led by the Romanian and Moldovan authorities and took place in December 2022. Other organisations, including EUROPOL, EU’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC) and INTERPOL, were also on board. A cooperation centre with officers from participating countries was set up in Chisinau, Moldova.
The action had several goals:
- identification of criminal networks behind the smuggling of excise goods, especially tobacco products;
- tackling cross-border crime including migrant smuggling and related document fraud;
- exchange of information and strengthening cooperation between EU Member States and other participating countries;
- sharing best practices between participants and national organisations of each participating countries.
As a result of the operation, authorities seized 2.3 million cigarettes, more than 3 tonnes of raw tobacco, 15 fraudulent documents, identified 40 people smugglers and arrested 2 persons wanted by INTERPOL.
In addition, law enforcement officers also recovered illicit firearms, pyrotechnics, counterfeit goods, anabolic products, drugs and a number of stolen vehicles.
Together against organised crime
The action was organised under EMPACT, the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats, which tackles the most important threats posed by organised and serious international crime affecting the EU. EMPACT strengthens intelligence, strategic and operational cooperation between national authorities, EU institutions and bodies, and international partners. EMPACT runs in four-year cycles focusing upon common EU crime priorities.