Operation Infra-Red is an INTERPOL initiative to locate and arrest serious long-term international fugitives. On the run from justice, these criminals have committed crimes such as murder, child sexual abuse, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Background and results
Operation INFRA brings together law enforcement officers from around the world in order to locate and arrest criminals who have fled their national jurisdiction.
Organized by the Fugitive Investigative Support (FIS) Unit, the operation focuses on serious cases, including fugitives wanted for crimes such as murder, child sexual abuse, fraud, corruption, drug trafficking and money laundering.
The first phase of the operation (2010) was named INFRA-RED (short for International Fugitive Round-up and Arrest – Red Notice). In 2011, the operation focused on fugitives wanted in South America and so was named Infra-SA.
Officers drawn from several different countries work together in a special operations room, allowing them to work on their specific cases using I-24/7, INTERPOL's secure global police communications system that links the General Secretariat and National Central Bureaus in each member country.
The fact that officers from many different countries are located together during the operation allows them to exploit the contacts and knowledge that they each have of their own criminal justice system. The principles of teamwork and international cooperation that underpin the whole concept of Operation INFRA contribute greatly to its success.
In 2010, more than 45 officers from 29 different countries came to the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon, France, during the three-month operational phase of the project.
In 2011, a total of 34 member countries took part, including 11 from the Americas. The operation was run from the newly opened Command and Coordination Centre at INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau for South America, located in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Results 2010 (INFRA-RED)
In 2010, a total of 447 cases were selected according to criteria agreed mutually between the INTERPOL General Secretariat and each participating country.
By the end of November 2010, Infra-Red had resulted in 71 arrests with 90 persons positively located and another 73 possibly located. In other words, approximately 36 per cent of the 447 cases led to a positive outcome.
During the operation, participating officers sent some 700 messages to INTERPOL's global network of countries, with 2,000 messages received in response.
Results 2011 (INFRA-SA)
A total of 209 cases were selected for Infra-SA, which ran from 14 March to 20 July 2011. By the end of this initial period, 61 fugitives had been positively located, out of which 27 fugitives had been arrested (further positive locations were made later in the year).
Of the 61 positive locations, 52 were made in Latin America and nine in countries outside the region (USA, Spain, Belgium and Angola), showing the clear international dimension of fugitive investigations.
More than 1,600 messages were exchanged between police internationally, driving forward the individual cases.
Operation INFRA is a clear example of the importance of bringing together law enforcement officials from different INTERPOL member countries in a structured and coordinated manner in order to actively target international fugitives.