limite – 06711.EN7
Report on the Activities of the EUROPOLDRUGS UNIT in 1996-Summary
1. General remarks
1996 was the third year of the existence of the Europol DrugsUnit (EDU) and there were a number of very significantdevelopments politically.
Agreement was reached at the Florence Summit on the role of theEuropean Court of Justice concerning Europol. Member States arenow conducting their ratification procedures. The United Kingdomwas the first country to ratify the Convention on the 1Oth ofDecember 1996.
Two Joint Actions agreed upon by ministers in December 1996introduced important changes and additions to the mandate of theEDU, extending it to include trafficking of human beings and tocreating and maintaining a directory of centres of excellence.
The EDU was heavily involved in the implementation of thepolicies set out in the document Cordrogue 69, agreed by theMadrid European Council.
A large number of ministers, members of national and Europeanparliaments and journalists visited EDU in 1996. During theratification procedure EDU is seen as a forerunner of futureEuropol and a laboratory for future work of Europol.
The day to day exchanges of information and intelligence betweenMember States via the EDU and the successful support from the EDUto Member States’ investigations and operations continued toincrease, both in terms of quality and quantity.
There were a significant number of enquiries relating to drugtrafficking, organised clandestine illegal immigration, illicitvehicle trafficking and money laundering, which led MemberStates’ authorities directly to seizures and arrests, but fewrelating to the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactivesubstances. Member States’ Europol National Units’-have used theEDU many times to facilitate and support the co-ordination ofinternational controlled deliveries and internationalsurveillance operations, as well as national investigations.
A substantial factor in the increased use of the EDU by lawenforcement agencies of the European Union is the presence ofEuropol Liaison Officers of all 15 Member States permanentlybased at the EDU and operating on behalf of their country. Thisarrangement, in line with the Third Pillar philosophy, hasprovided Member States’ authorities with an important and usefulservice not previously available. The composition of eachnational desk is more and more reflecting a multi-agencyapproach.In order to make effective progress in the mandated fields ofcriminality, a series of conferences was held in The Hague during1996 to ascertain Member States’ needs in these areas, toexchange views, discuss law enforcement techniques, agree oncommon strategies and to initiate and improve investigations andoperations.
2. Exchange of information
The exchange of information and intelligence between EL0sremained the primary activity of EDU and 1996 saw a significantincrease in the number of enquiries dealt with by the EDU.As a result of the successful support by the EDU to therespective law enforcement agencies (police, gendarmerie,customs, immigration, etc.), the Member States are making moreand more use of the ELO network and specific EDU expertise.Bilateral and, more especially, multilateral exchange are takingplace every day, and a high level of servic (speed, accuracy,language facilities, upgrading of information/intelligence) isoffered to investigations related to criminal groups active on aninternational basis.
During 1996, 2053 cases were initiated by the Member States. Eachcase can involve several individual enquiries as it may bedirected to more than one country or several replies may be givenover time by one country, thus, from 2053 cases referred to EDU6327 individual responses were generated by liaison officers. Anadditional 216 responses to enquiries were sent to Member Statesfrom the EDU crime analysts department.
The types of request routed through the EDU remain proportionallysimilar to those in 1995. In 78% of cases (77% in 1995),therequest was for information and intelligence in respect ofongoing investigations in the Member States. In 16% of cases (17%in 1995) special expertise and analytical support was requested.In 6% of cases (same as 1995) co-ordination support was given bythe EL0s in ongoing multilateral law enforcement activities (egcontrolled deliveries, of which 33 were facilitated through EDUin 1996).
Of the total number of cases, 1466 were drug related (71 %compared to 76% of 1995), 257 covered money laundering activities(13% compared to 12% in 1995), 167 were linked to illegalimmigration networks (8% compared to 4% in the previous year) and159 related to stolen vehicle trafficking (8% as in 1 995). Only4 cases were related to the illicit trafficking of nuclear orradioactive substances.
2.1. Illicit drug trafficking
Action to combat illicit drug trafficking remains a core function
of the EDU. In addition to the operational support outlinedabove, a number of other developments have occurred in this areain 1996.
A second EU-Situation Report on Drug Production and Traffickingwas prepared including, for the first time, an overview ofwholesale and retail prices of major drugs in the Member States.This document became one of the sources used by the IrishPresidency in drafting the Situation Report on Organised Crime inthe European Union in 1995. A strategic analysis was conducted,Drug Trafficking by Turkish Criminal Organisations from an EUPerspective, from which operational projects will be developed in1997. In November 1996 the EDU started, in cooperation withMember States, the preparations for the establishment of a DrugPurity Indicator System in order to report on the average purityof the major types of drugs.
The Ecstasy Logo Project provided a computerised database systemfor the ballistic profiling of ecstasy pills. A first cataloguecontaining 93 logos of ecstasy pills and an update with another74 new logos were released in 1 996. Some 9500 catalogues weredistributed to law enforcement bodies in the Member States atidmany requests for additional copies were received.
With the aim of assisting law enforcement bodies in interestedMember States and their drug liaison officers in Latin Americaand the Caribbean, the EDU has continued with the Latin AmericanDrug Bulletin Board, through which relevant information fromvarious open sources was collected and disseminated.
Other areas of criminality.in addition to the exchange ofinformation, EDU is developing with the ENUs a project orientedapproach starting in principle with the production of a generalsituation report on the other mandated areas of criminality andby initiating other specific initiatives.
The first Expert meeting on Illicit Trafficking of Vehicles washeld in The Hague in April 1996 in the presence of experts fromall Member States, the PECO countries and two of the BalticStates in order to evaluate the criminal threat, to study theneeds and expectations of international co-operation and toinitiate and support operational activities.
In order to carry out stolen vehicle projects and to develop asystematic analysis in this area of crime, the EDU producedannual European Situation Report covering the situation in 1995.The purpose is then to gain additional information and to createthe basis for a mutual future strategy to combat this phenomenonthrough bilateral and multicultilateral co-operation under theco-ordination of a leading Member State. The EDU was invited bythe Schengen co-operation, as part of their pilot project onstolen vehicle routes, to carry out an analysis focusing oncontrols of routes known as being frequently used by traffickers.
The annual situation report on Illicit Trafficking in nuclear andradioactive substances and Clandestine immigration networks wereprepared and ready to be produced beginning of 1997.
A system was set up to inform instantly all the EU aboutoccurring trafficking of nuclear and radioactive substancesincidents.
A Balkan Route project, focusing on clandestine immigrationnetworks involving Turkish nationals and Turkish organisations,was developed and a strategic analysis was carried out.Additional detailed information and details of cases date from1994 and 1995.
An EDU common strategy on Money laundering has been prepared andwill be officialised in 1997.
A General Situation Report was written describing, inter alia,the legal, possibilities and competent agencies for the controlof cross border movements of cash/assets. At the request of someMember States, an inventory was made of the existing trainingprograms on money laundering in the Member States.
The EDU maintained its involvement with other internationalorganisations involved in these areas, in order to avoidduplication of efforts and to develop joint initiatives whereappropriate in agreement with the Law Enforcement Authorities inthe Member States and under authority of the Working GroupEuropol.
2.3. Special Techniques
The EDU produced two key documents on this subject, a SpecialTechniques Policy, and a study on Controlled Deliveries coveringlegal, judicial, factual, structural and financial problems whichcreate difficulties in such operations.
An expert meeting on compatible technical support systems wasorganised at the EDU by the United Kingdom Home Office, attendedby representatives of all Member States. This presented theexisting tracking systems in Europe and concentrated on userrequirements, technical specifications and research anddevelopment requirements.
3. Crime Analysis
The workload of the analytical.department continued to increasein 1996 and the number of analysts was increased from 4 to 7 bythe end of the year. The number of yearly assessments remained at
5, however, requests for major assistance increased from 18 to 26and a further 272 minor requests resulted in 2495 searchescompared to 841 in 1996.
A 2nd EU Criminal Intelligence Analysts’ Conference was held atthe EDU between 8-10 October 1996, with over 60 delegates fromall Member States and also an observer from ICPO/Interpol. Guestspeakers came from the USA, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands,Australia and Italy, imparting their knowledge and expertise froman operational viewpoint and an academic perspective in respectof both strategic and operational analysis. This conferencesupported the EDU’s underlying principle of expanding theawareness of analytical work, as further demonstrated by the twoweek Strategic Analysis and Intelligence Course held in June1996, attended by 27 representatives from 1 2 Member States andrepresentatives from ICPO/Interpol and the WCO. As a result ofpositive feedback it has been decided to repeat the course in1997.
4. EDU support for the implementation of the Convention
The Europol Drugs Unit participated actively in the Working Groupon Europol during 1996. The focus was mainly on the Analysis WorkFiles, the Confidentiality Regulations and the Staff Regulations.Under the Italian and Irish Presidencies, considerable progresshas been reached. The EDU support activities led to an importantinvestment of manpower throughout the whole organisation(participation with three or more EDU representatives in the manyworking days of the Working Group on Europol and organising andparticipation in expert groups meetings and drafting groupsmeetings in the EDU building for the preparation of all thedifferent regulations foreseen in the Europol Convention.)
5. Personnel and finance
The 31 December 1996 the EDU personnel arrived to 116; 37 liaisonofficers and technical assistants to the liaison bureaux from the15 Member States and 79 EDU staff members coming from 11 MemberStates in total.
The EDU’S. total 1995 expenditures amounted to 3.219.058 ECUleaving 17.8% of the budget unspent.
In addition to the ordinary EDU budget for 1996 of 4.997.000 ECU,the Council of Ministers approved a supplementary budget of1.400.000 ECU for the Europol Computer System, of which only1.100.000 ECU had to be called up.
Through tight managing and monitoring, it has been ensured thatspending in 1996 has remained within the budgetary limits. For anumber of business items, in particular simultaneousinterpretation of conferences and meetings, printing, translatingand training, a number of potentially useful initiatives had tobe dropped.due to financial constraints.
End of 1996, the Council adopted the EDU budget 1997 amounting to5.600.000 ECU and a 1997 budget for the Europol Computer Systemof 2.200.000 ECU.
Considerable effort was made throughout the organisation inbusiness planning to set up detailed activity plans and toestablish the priorities needed to ensure cost effectiveimplementation of the 1997 budget.
The EDU has played a significant role during 1996 in combatingorganised crime in the European Union. It is now well establishedin the minds of investigators within the Member States and in thearena of international politics.
A consequence is a level of expectation which cannot be fulfilledwith current legal, financial and technical resources. This isparticularly marked in respect of analytical work.
In addition to supporting investigations, the EDU is beginning toplay an important role in the development and harmonisation ofstrategies and techniques. The EDU is emerging as a joint MemberStates laboratory for new management and analytical methods andfor modern technologies. In addition, the EDU offers a platformfor the exchange of views and experiences among Member States’ministries, police and customs authorities.
The birth of the real Europol seems to be near as ratification ofthe Europol Convention progresses in an encouraging manner. Notall problems concerning European law enforcement cooperation willbe solved by ratification as a number of practical implementationissues remain to be addressed, especially the establishment ofefficient liaison with third countries and internationalorganisations. The Dublin summit gave clear signals for furtherdevelopment of Europol and of EU wide law enforcement co-operation which will further enhance the fight againstinternational organised crime.
Examples of case related work
1.Two analyses were carried out at the request of German lawenforcement agencies, both inrespect of clandestine immigrationnetworks. These separate cases related to the transportation ofillegal immigrants from Asia either to Germany or other MemberStates. Intelligence indicated that some of the illegalimmigrants arriving in Germany were en-route to other countriesof the European Union. The work was carried out on behalf of the
operational teams. EL0’s collected an important amount ofinformation which was then evaluated, structured and analysedwith the results being displayed in the form of relationaldiagrams. This work illustrated the relationship among the mainsuspects, and in particular the analysis supported the theorythat the illegal immigration activity centred around an organisedgroup who worked closely together. The work, co-ordinated by theEL0’s, gave reason to believe that each investigation had commontargets, thus, highlighting areas for further work to be carriedby the investigators.
2.The Danish Serious Crime Squad investigated a drug case base ona seizure of 1.8 tons of cannabis in Spain. The investigatorsinitially used the Nordic Drugs Liaison Officer (DLO) network toget information from Spain. When it turned out that the case hadlinks to Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal and Ireland, the EDU wasasked to give support. On request of the participating MemberStates, the case-related information was analysed by EDU analystswho suggested that the case be divided into two separateinvestigations, an Irish/Dutch/Beigium case and a Danish/Dutch/Belgium/Spanish case. A meeting between all involved countriestook place at the EDU and the division of the case was agreed.Denmark presented the case to Spain, Netherlands and Belgium. Atthe meeting it was agreed that Belgium and Spain would launch aninvestigation using special techniques in both countries based onthe Danish information. Information was exchanged on a dailybasis between the participating countries. The analyticaldepartment prepared flow-charts and other analytical reports onthe development in the case, which kept the investigators’updated at all time. The investigation stated that a target inDenmark planned to go to the Netherlands to buy a substantialnumber of XTC pills. A Controlled Delivery (CD) was agreed by therequested countries (Germany, Netherlands and Belgium). The CDwas carried out successfully resulting in the seizure of 1 0 000XTC pills, which was the biggest Danish seizure to date.Additionally, the analytical department assisted the Danishprosecutor by making a complete analysis/overview and graphicalpresentation of the case and its complicated international links.
3.In October 1996 the Dutch Customs seized a parcel containingXTC pills, hashish and marihuana which was about to be sent toPortugal by air mail from Holland. The destination of the parcelwas the Post Office of a small town in the Algarve near theSpanish border. Both the names of the sender and the receiverwere false. The assistance of EDU was requested and a CD wasinitiated. An undercover Portuguese police officer came to TheNetherlands and received the package. As he had to leave the sameday for strategic reasons, he had to fly via Germany. In 1 hourthe Prosecutor of Frankfurt authorised the transit and the GermanCustoms gave assistance in German territory. The undercoverofficer went to the Post Office pretending to work there. A fewdays later a Dutch citizen born in Dusseldorf (Germany) arrivedto get the package. He was followed and arrested when enteringhis house. His house was searched and more drugs (namely XTCpills) were found along with a lot of cash. He admitted that hehad been using the same method for several months and that he wasthe main supplier to the drug users in the area, and also fromSpain. He was selling the drugs for 4 times the cost price in TheNetherlands. Several users were identified.