EUBAM facilitates investigation on heroin trafficking

On 19 June, an investigation facilitated by EUBAM, the EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine, led to detention by law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova, together with their Ukrainian counterparts, of five drug traffickers. A total of 235kg of heroin bound for the EU was seized during the operation.

The large-scale international investigation involved about a hundred law enforcement officers from Ukraine and Moldova and began in December last year. Upon request from the partner services, the Mission provided its advice and assistance to the investigation, creating a platform for cross-border cooperation between law enforcement agencies of both countries.

In the course of the joint investigation, it emerged that an international organised crime group of Turkish and Moldovan citizens had created a logistic hub for drug trafficking in Moldova. Under the guise of companies specialised in the import and export of construction materials, the criminals organised a supply of heroin concealed in bricks.

The perpetrators were smuggling heroin from Iran through the territory of Ukraine to Moldova and then further to the EU. As a result of the investigation, two Turkish and three Moldovan citizens were arrested.

The joint investigation not only led to shutting down the international drug trafficking route, but also enhanced the Moldovan-Ukrainian police and judicial cooperation against illicit drug trafficking.