Depeche: Europol: the Spanish National Police supported by Europol, French and Georgian authorities has arrested 61 members of a Georgian organised crime group specialised in burglaries. Overall, 26 house searches have been carried out and EUR 33 000, 8 vehicles, 7 100 tobacco packets and many stolen pieces of jewellery have been seized.
The 61 arrested individuals formed 9 different criminals cells, which were all located in Madrid. All the cells had links to different Spanish provinces such as Malaga, Seville, Sabadell, Barcelona and Bilbao. Among the detained persons are also five supervisors, who took over key roles in the organized crime group. The supervisors were in charge of providing logistical support, monitoring the criminal cells and keeping the leaders of the criminal organisation updated.
Some of the arrested had legal jobs in Spain, such as staff in a construction company in Seville, or a private security guard in Madrid, attempting to hide the profits illegally obtained and to avoid suspicions.
This operation is considered as the second phase of Operation AIKON, which was already conducted by the Spanish National Police and supported by Europol. In the first phase 50 people, all members of Georgian organised crime, were detained. Some of them have been arrested again in the second phase of AIKON. The main target of the operation and leader of the organized crime gang has a vast criminal background (kidnapping, assassination, etc.) and headed the criminal group from Italy, supported by the 5 supervisors in Spain.
Europol has supported the investigations from the early phases by facilitating the exchange of information. During the action day, one Europol expert was deployed to Spain, equipped with a mobile office. This allowed for real–time exchange of information and cross-checks of the data gathered in the course of the action against Europol’s databases.