Police raids in Europe target worldwide organized crime
BERLIN (AP) — German officials said police conducted raids Monday targeting people suspected of involvement in organized crime, as part of a larger international bust coordinated by Europol.
The European Union police agency, based in The Hague, Netherlands, said it planned to hold a news conference Tuesday on what it described as “a major law enforcement action against some of the world’s foremost criminals” in more than a dozen countries.
“This operation is the most sophisticated effort to date in disrupting the activities of criminals operating from all four corners of the world,” Europol said, adding that representatives from the FBI and Dutch, Swedish and Australian federal police would be present.
A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry declined to confirm reports that the raids were linked to the FBI’s hacking of encrypted communications networks used by criminals.
“I can confirm that there are currently criminal procedural measures in Germany but also in other countries around the world against people who are suspected of involvement in organized crime,” the spokesman, Steve Alter, told reporters in Berlin.
“These measures are currently ongoing,” he said, explaining that he could not comment further.
European police last year delivered a major blow to organized crime after cracking an encrypted communications network, known as EncroChat, used by criminal gangs across the continent.
In March, Belgian police arrested dozens of people after cracking another encrypted chat system, called Sky ECC, and seizing more than 17 tons of cocaine.