Europol supported Bosnia and Herzegovina in identifying and dismantling a large-scale criminal network involved in the trafficking of drugs and weapons, money laundering and corruption. The investigation, initiated by a Europol analysis, involved the following authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Federal Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Interior of Republic of Srpska, Border Police and the State Prosecutors Office. Law enforcement (Federal Criminal Police Office) and judicial authorities from Germany also took part in the investigation.
The investigation, initiated in 2021, focused on the activities of a criminal network involved mainly in the production and trafficking of drugs in the Western Balkans, the EU and South America. Important leads, which served the identification of criminal actors, were obtained from operational analysis of encrypted communications. Europol supported the national authorities in developing their investigative activities by supplying them with important insights obtained from the suspects’ communications through the encrypted ANOM and SkyECC applications, the latter taken down in 2021.
The information exchange between different national authorities uncovered a large-scale organisation, spread across two continents and with some members holding positions in the national administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 19 June, which saw the eighth action day organised within this three year-long operation, the national authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina arrested six individuals. These arrests bring the number of individuals arrested for their links to this organised crime group up to a total of 38.
Total results of the operation:
• 38 suspects arrested, 8 of which holding positions in the national administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina
• 1 High Value Target arrested in Germany extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina
• Seizures include over 300kg cannabis and real estate and cash with a total value of over EUR 6 million
Europol supported the operation since its very beginning with communications analysis that enabled national authorities to identify suspects and uncover their criminal activities. Europol facilitated the information exchange as well as coordinated and financed operational meetings. Parallel operational analysis by Europol, delivered in the form of intelligence packages, shed light on the ramifications and influence of the criminal network. Europol also supported the national authorities by deploying experts to the field to provide investigators with real-time analytical support and technical expertise.
Stronger operational cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina
As of June 2023, Europol is further strengthening its operational cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). This new development relates to the establishment of a single National Contact Point for all BiH law enforcement authorities with Europol, connecting them to the Europol Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA) system. The creation of this National Contact Point, who will coordinate the communication between relevant BiH law enforcement authorities and Europol, is accompanied by the deployment of a BiH Liaison Officer to the agency. The BiH Liaison Officer will join the large community of almost 300 Liaison Officers, representing more than 45 countries, who are already hosted at Europol’s headquarters.