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More Than 300 People Arrested in European Organized Crime Crackdown

  • VOA News

FILE - Exterior view of the Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, Feb. 22, 2016.

FILE - Exterior view of the Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, Feb. 22, 2016.

Police in Europe arrested a total of 314 people from 52 different countries and broke up several international human trafficking rings this week during round-the-clock coordinated raids, Europol announced Wednesday.

The massive operation was coordinated from the Europol headquarters in The Hague, where Europol officers and experts from each of the countries gathered to direct the action in real-time.

“Simultaneously, 16 Europol specialists were deployed on the spot in several countries across the world,” Europol said in a statement. “From there, they worked hand-in-hand with investigators to provide forensic support, analytical reports and live crosschecks against Europol’s databases.”

Europol said the operation disrupted “the most dangerous criminal networks currently active,” and focused on cases related to illegal immigration, human trafficking, drug trafficking and cybercrime.

The trafficking networks based in Nigeria, Asia and Eastern Europe are the most active in Europe, officials said.

In one instance, police performing checks on a brothel in Austria also found a cannabis plantation.

In another case, police uncovered a fake travel agency in Greece that was facilitating illegal immigration and human trafficking, according to the statement.

In total, police identified more than 500 human trafficking victims, intercepted 745 migrants and seized more than two tons of cocaine and 180,000 euros.

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