Europol, in cooperation with the Moldovan, Romanian and French police, has uncovered a Moldovan gang involved in cigarette smuggling in European countries.
A total of 50 searches were carried out in France, Romania and Moldova, resulting in the arrest of 14 Moldovan nationals (12 in France, one in Romania and one in Moldova).
Among those arrested in Romania is the ringleader. He has the title of ‘thief in law’ in the ranking structure of the Russian-speaking mafia and is wanted in a number of high-profile cases in Europe.
During the searches, 1,700 cartons of cigarettes, 520 kg of tobacco and more than €200,000 in cash were seized.
The criminals arrested are believed to be linked to a long list of illicit activities across Europe, such as organised theft and fencing, extortion, money laundering and tobacco smuggling.
Europol brought together French, Romanian and Moldovan investigators, who have been working together since April 2021, to draw up a joint strategy and prepare for the final phase of the investigation, which culminated in the defeat of the gang.
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