Europol, the Italian Carabinieri Corps, and the Maltese Police Force have worked together to make a significant arrest of nine individuals involved in irregular immigration, forgery of documents, and counterfeit currency. In a joint operation, Italian law enforcement authorities also dismantled seven counterfeit printing presses.
The criminal group, operating mainly in Italy and Malta, specialized in distributing fraudulent passports to migrants from sub-Saharan and Middle Eastern regions. These documents facilitated the passage of migrants via flights from Malta and Italy to destinations across Western Europe. The group’s operations were effectively disrupted with numerous counterfeit passports being seized across Belgium, Switzerland, France, and Italy.
Investigations revealed the syndicate’s involvement in other criminal enterprises, including the trafficking of stolen vehicles and the mass production of counterfeit currency. The group produced a significant amount of counterfeit 20,000 Congolese franc banknotes, aiming to introduce these counterfeit notes into the financial system of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Carabinieri Anti-Money Counterfeiting Command of Rome initiated the investigation, uncovering that the suspected members had allegedly facilitated illegal immigration through the production and dissemination of fake driving licenses, registration documents, and national identification documents.
In another operation earlier this month, Europol, in cooperation with Eurojust, dismantled a criminal syndicate orchestrating irregular migration to the EU through fraudulent marriages. The joint effort led to the apprehension of 15 individuals, with significant seizures made during the operation, including confiscating electronic equipment and essential documentation related to the illegal activities of the dismantled network.
Individuals involved in the illegal scheme orchestrated procuring airline tickets, passports, and other essential documents required for illegal migration. Fraudulent marriage ceremonies were strategically organized in municipalities across Cyprus, including Aradippou, Livadia, and Nicosia.
These joint efforts by law enforcement authorities across Europe demonstrate the continent’s commitment to combatting illegal immigration, counterfeiting, and other criminal activities. The successful operations have disrupted the operations of criminal networks and made significant arrests, contributing to a safer and more secure Europe for all.
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