Regional police co-operate, break up trafficking ring


Cross-border co-operation is necessary to win the fight against organised crime, analysts say.

By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 24/12/12


The police co-operation resulted in 45 arrests. [AFP]

An increase in police co-operation and co-ordination on organised crime in the region is being credited for the arrests of 45 people suspected of being involved in a human trafficking ring in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kosovo and Slovenia.

According to media reports, the immigrants, mostly Turkish and Albanian nationals, were smuggled through Serbia, BiH and Croatia to the EU, paying 850 euros to 1,000 euros each.

Among those apprehended for running the ring were 18 people from Croatia, including three border police officials, 10 from Slovenia, seven in Kosovo and 17 in BiH.

In Kosovo, the seven were arrested through an operation conducted by a joint investigation team comprised of EULEX's organised crime investigation unit and the Kosovo police's organised crime department.

EULEX said the suspects were arrested under an investigation into a transnational organised crime group. They are charged with organised crime and smuggling migrants.

"There had been co-operation at the EUROPOL level previously, and evidence had been shared between the countries," Blerim Krasniqi, a EULEX spokesperson told SETimes.

"Regional police co-operation in the field of security and internal affairs is very successful, professional and high quality at all levels …. For the seamless and functional conduction of such co-operation, police information is shared promptly, in accordance with protocol on co-operation and assorted acts," Croatian police told SETimes.

Analysts and experts said that co-ordination between regional countries in the fight against organised crime is necessary.

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"Cross-border organised crime and illegal migration don't have state borders and are affecting multiple countries, so their effective suppression is possible only with successful cross-border police co-operation in all countries," the Croatian police told SETimes.

Petrit Zogaj of the Kosovo "FOL" (Speak Up) Movement, said that a co-ordinated fight against organised crime means more security and safety for the citizens of the countries in the region.

"The EU is treating us as a country where organised crime overrules this region and there is only one alternative, to fight this phenomena, which by now defines us, unfortunately," Zogaj told SETimes.

"Since crime has gone global, purely national responses are inadequate,"Antonia Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, told SETimes.

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