‘Operation Calibre’: Europol seizes firearms and arrests 18 in Western Balkans

Written by on November 24, 2017 in Europe - Comments Off on ‘Operation Calibre’: Europol seizes firearms and arrests 18 in Western Balkans

Europol and police from a total of 16 states, including Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania, have seized 135 firearms and 7000 rounds of ammunition in Operation Calibre. According to a Europol statement just released, the operation took place on November 17 and 18, 2017.

During what could be described as concerted action, since so many EU and non-EU states were involved, 18 individuals were arrested in Western Balkan states, and as many as 153 persons were prevented from entering the European Union illegally.

Europol did not say whether Operation Calibre thwarted any terror plot, or whether it was related to terrorism as well, but it was definitely a blow to organised crime syndicates dealing with weapons.

The operation, which took place in a total of 18 countries, 10 of which were EU member states, was coordinated at Europol’s Operational Centre in The Hague. Officers involved made sure the exchange of information between participating countries and authorities took place without delay. Vehicles were stopped at several border crossings, and seizures were made.

Operation Calibre was led by the UK as the activity’s action leader and with the full support of Europol and Frontex, according to the statement The Sofia Globe received. The other countries involved in the operation were Sweden, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Spain, Hungary, Switzerland, Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.

Europol also got help from the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The European border security agency Frontex was involved as well.

Four Europol offices in Western Balkan countries and the UK were established for the operation. Their task was to deal with the real-time exchange of information, to collect and analyse data.

Operation Calibre was part of the even larger Operation Dragon, Europol said.

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com