Bulgaria’s anti-organised crime squad carried out 237 special operations in 2018

Bulgaria’s Chief Directorate for Combating Organised Crime carried out 237 special operations in 2018, including 95 with other services in the Interior Ministry and 56 with foreign partner services, according to its annual report, made public on March 28.

According to the report, the activities of 121 organised crime groups were disrupted.

A total of 260 pre-trial proceedings had resulted, involving charges against 834 people.

Close to 553 235kg of illegal drugs were seized, including 234 445kg of heroin; 10 807kg of cocaine; 76 603kg of marijuana (dry cannabis); 30 981kg of amphetamine substance, and 197 700kg of ecstasy and other substances.

The directorate had acted against seven cross-border drug trafficking rings.

On foreign territory (Moldova, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, France, Turkey), a total of 132 095 kg of heroin was seized, on the basis of tip-offs and with the participation of the directorate, as well as 1200 kg of cocaine and 100 kg of marijuana.

Two premises equipped for cannabis cultivation had been found on the territory of Amsterdam. A total of 23 Bulgarians, seven Turkish citizens, two Spanish citizens and one with dual citizenship (Moldovan and Romanian) had been detained.

As regarding trafficking of objects of cultural and historical value, the directorate had seized 3042 coins and more than 2500 other items.

In counter-terrorism operations, a total of 132 automatic firearms, four carbines, 12 military rifles, two hunting rifles, 75 pistols, 44 573 items of ammunition of different types and calibre, and 17 modified gas pistols, as well as eight kg of explosives; 59 detonators; 2400 fuses had been seized.

Two contraband cigarette operations had been shut down. In operations against contraband, more than 23 million cigarettes were confiscated, as well as more than 2500kg of tobacco, seven tons of petroleum products, and 21 225 litres of high-alcohol beverages.

In actions against counterfeiting, 32 149 counterfeit euro banknotes were seized at a total value of 3 214 770 euro; 1 302 314 counterfeit banknotes at a total value of 130 116 350 leva; and 34 973 counterfeit British currency to a total value of £69 946.

Three printing works forging documents and currency had been found.

The report detailed large-scale work on a priority target, cybercrime, including seizures of addresses and sundry equipment, among which were electronic devices for remote manipulation of gaming machine software; computer configurations with specialized software for downloading and distributing pornographic content; and a huge amount of file content of child sexual abuse.

The report said that also seized were hardware devices for accessing computer information data (crypto).

For the first time in Bulgaria, various types and quantities of virtual currencies were seized, valued at more than four million leva, the report said.

In 2018, the directorate took part in 11 joint investigation team investigations with foreign partner services. Six were against human trafficking, with Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. One was a counterterrorism investigation, with the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and France. Three were against counterfeiting, of which two were with Spain and one with France, and one was against cybercrime, with Norway.



The Sofia Globe staff

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