An investigation by law enforcement and judicial authorities from Belgium, France and the UK, supported by Europol and Eurojust, led to the arrests of three individuals suspected of being involved in migrant smuggling using small boats across the English Channel.
A number of interceptions made in 2021 in Belgium uncovered the suspects’ links to a migrant smuggling network which was transporting migrants in small boats from France to the UK across the English Channel. The investigation suggests that some of the members of the criminal network were operating from France, while others operated from the UK. The information exchange between involved national authorities through Europol and Eurojust channels led to the identification of a number of suspects.
On 9 November, following this international cooperation at the judicial and law enforcement level, French and UK law enforcement authorities arrested two suspects (one Iraqi and one Kuwaiti national) by order of the investigating judge in Bruges. At the same time, French Border Police made one arrest (one Iraqi national) under a European Arrest Warrant issued by Belgium.
Europol facilitated the information exchange between the participating countries. Europol also provided 24/7 analytical and operational support, and facilitated the real-time exchange of communication between the participating authorities.