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29 September 2017

Dozens of crime suspects targeted by INTERPOL arrested in Italian operation

LYON, France – An operation across Europe led by Italy’s Carabinieri and supported by INTERPOL has resulted in the arrest of 30 organized crime suspects.

Operation Never Peace (19 – 21 September) involved police in France, Germany, Italy and Spain coordinating their actions against a transnational Eurasian organized crime network targeted by INTERPOL’s Project Millennium.

At the request of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Rome, INTERPOL deployed a team of experts from its Project Millennium and Fingerprints units to Turin, to provide operational support and help identify suspects via its global databases.

The majority of those arrested in the operation were Georgian nationals allegedly at the highest level in the Eurasian criminal hierarchy and suspected of organizing a string of burglaries and thefts across Europe.

With a number of the suspects holding fake identity documents and using multiple identities, the INTERPOL team helped coordinate the exchange of critical information via the Organization’s I-24/7 secure police communications system, with Project Millennium’s intelligence database enabling criminal analysis.

“Cooperation between the Carabinieri and NCB Rome, under the International Police Cooperation Service of the Italian Public Security Department, helped information sharing through international cooperation channels. With the support of INTERPOL's General Secretariat, it facilitated investigations and the arrest of a gang of suspected criminals,” said Paolo D’Ambola, Head of the NCB in Rome and Director of the International Police Cooperation Service of the Italian Public Security Department.

With 28 arrests in Italy and two in Germany, the international operation also helped identify a smuggling route for stolen goods from Italy to the Caucasus Region via Central Europe.

“Operations such as Never Peace provide us a vital opportunity to connect the dots between crime cases in different countries and get the right information into the right hands at the right time, via INTERPOL’s global network,” said Paul Stanfield, Director of INTERPOL’s Organized and Emerging Crime programme.

“A clear message has been sent to criminals on what can be achieved when police forces plan and coordinate their operational efforts together, using both INTERPOL and national tools,” added Mr Stanfield.

In addition to the arrests, a hoard of stolen goods was recovered, including jewellery, luxury watches and electronic goods. Cars, motorbikes, fake identity documents and cash were also seized.

Intelligence and forensic evidence gathered during the operation has been registered in INTERPOL’s Project Millennium intelligence database to help fuel further investigations and connect investigations worldwide.