Europol supports EMPACT action week at 61 airports across 36 countries worldwide

Europol supported a Spanish-led action week targeting drug trafficking via airports, which focused on checks of passenger and cargo traffic on both direct and connecting flights, mainly from the Americas. The action week, which took place at 61 airports between 11 and 18 December 2023, also involved Frontex, INTERPOL through project AIRCOP and law enforcement authorities from 36 countries.

During the action week, the involved authorities carried out checks on passengers and their luggage, as well as on parcels and cargo shipments, at 61 major airports. The checks aimed at detecting the possession or trafficking of drugs, especially cocaine, originating from Latin America. Another objective was to enhance the cooperation between police and customs authorities on both sides of the Atlantic.

The operational phase, focusing on intensification of security at airports, was prepared during a preliminary intelligence phase. This led to an analysis of relevant information related to drugs trafficking flows, the identification of possible suspects and modus operandi besides the development of coordinated activities to be carried out during the action week.

Arrests and seizures during the operation:

  • 46 arrests
  • 356 464 kg of cannabis
  • 354 209 kg of cocaine
  • 37 kg of synthetic drugs
  • 101 559 kg other drugs

Europol facilitated the exchange of information and provided continuous analytical support during the action week.

Airports covered during the operational activities:

Europe (29):

  • Austria: Vienna International Airport
  • Belgium: Brussels Airport Zaventem, Brussels South Airport Charleroi, Liege Bierset Airport
  • Bulgaria: Sofia Airport
  • Czechia- Vaclav Havel Airport Prague
  • Georgia: Tbilisi International Airport
  • France: Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly Airport
  • Germany: Frankfurt Airport, Leipzig/Halle Airport, Cologne/Bonn Airport
  • Ireland: Shannon Airport, Cork Airport, Dublin Airport
  • Italy: Roma-Fiumicino Airport “Leonardo Da Vinci”
  • Luxembourg: Luxembourg Airport
  • Netherlands: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
  • North Macedonia: Skopje International Airport
  • Poland: Warsaw Chopin Airport
  • Portugal: Humberto Delgado Airport
  • Slovenia: Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport
  • Spain: Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport and Barcelona-El Prat
  • Sweden: Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Malmö Airport Toftanäs terminal, and Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport
  • Switzerland – Zurich Airport, Geneva Airport
  • United Kingdom: Heathrow Airport

Africa & Americas (32):

  • Argentina: Ministro Pistarini International Airport
  • Benin: Cardinal Bernadin Gantin International Airport
  • Bolivia: El Alto International Airport, Viru Viru International Airport
  • Brazil: Guarulhos/São Paulo International Airport, Viracopos/Campinas International Airport, Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport, Fortaleza–Pinto Martins International Airport
  • Cape Verde: Nelson Mandela Praia International Airport
  • Colombia: El Dorado International Airport, Jose Maria Cordova International Airport, Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport
  • Dominican Republic: Punta Cana International Airport, Santo Domingo Las Américas International Airport
  • Ecuador: José Joaquín de Olmedo, Mariscal Sucre International Airport
  • Gambia: Banjul International Airport
  • Guinea-Bissau: Osvaldo Vieira International Airport
  • Ivory Coast: Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport
  • Jamaica: Norman Manley International Airport, Sangster International Airport
  • Nigeria: Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Murtala Muhammed Airport
  • Panama: Tocumen International Airport, Enrique Malek International Airport: David, Panamá Pacífico International Airport, Albrook Gelabert Airport.
  • Peru: Jorge Chávez International Airport
  • Togo: Gnassingbé Eyadéma International Airport
  • United States: Miami International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport