Operation Meerkat

A joint operation involving INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization (WCO) in Eastern and Southern Africa against the illicit trafficking of cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol has resulted in the seizure of tonnes of illicitly traded products in seven countries. Police and customs authorities carried out some 40 raids at seaports, inland border points, markets and shops, where more than 32 million sticks of cigarettes (equivalent to 1.6 million cigarette packets), 134 tonnes of raw tobacco and almost 3,000 litres of alcohol were seized.  As a result of these seizures national authorities have initiated a number of administrative investigations into tax evasion and other potential criminal offences by those involved.

The operation’s coordination unit, based at the WCO’s Regional Intelligence Liaison Office in Nairobi, monitored the exchange of information between the participating countries, with support provided by INTERPOL’s Regional Bureaus in Nairobi and Zimbabwe and by officers from its Trafficking in Illicit Goods programme.

Dates: 1-31 May 2012
Participating countries: (seven in total) Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

Media release: INTERPOL and WCO joint operation in Africa against illicit trafficking leads to tobacco and alcohol seizures (27 August 2012)