Frontex leads massive international operation to find stolen cars and car parts

Law enforcement authorities seized more than 350 stolen cars and more than 1000 stolen car parts this month in a two-week international operation led by Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The operation was co-led by Poland, Greece, Germany and Europol and supported by INTERPOL, along with hundreds of border guards and police officers from 22 countries around Europe.

Frontex set up a Coordination Centre at its headquarters in Warsaw, where officers from participating countries exchanged operational and intelligence information. INTERPOL was also present at the Coordination Centre, while Europol supported the operation remotely. Officers deployed by Frontex under the umbrella of Joint Operation Focal Points 2020 – Operational Activities at Land Border Crossing Points supported the operation with their specialised knowledge and expertise.

Despite complications related to COVID-19, the authorities detected 352 stolen vehicles and 1077 stolen vehicle parts on lorries and in chop shops, leading to new investigations against car crime gangs. In addition, they discovered dozens of forged or falsified ID documents and vehicles documents.

The two-week operation (12–23 October) dubbed “Join Action Days Mobile 3” within the framework of the European multidisciplinary platform against criminal threats (EMPACT) covered checks at border crossing points and in-land activities in 17 EU countries and five countries in the Balkan region.

In close cooperation with private industry, including the car industry, boats manufacturers, rental and leasing companies, border control officers at the external EU border prevented many vehicles and boats from being smuggled across the borders. In Greece, for example, the police seized 15 rental cars which criminals attempted to smuggle out of the European Union.Activities focused on checks of vehicles and boats, but also resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs and arrests of suspected drug smugglers. In Portugal, Policia de Seguranca Publica arrested six people with a tonne of Marijuana and 10 kg of heroin. Spain’s Guardia Civil seized 666 kg of hashish and arrested 22 suspected drug smugglers. Latvian authorities also detected 400 000 illegal cigarettes in the operation.

Finally, the operation led to the arrest of 17 suspected people smugglers. The smugglers were transporting the migrants via land routes in trailers, as well on small boats, often stolen ones, via the Adriatic Sea. Officers also detected nearly 3000 irregular migrants.The following countries and law enforcement agencies and international organisations were involved in the operation JAD Mobile 3:

  • Albania, Austria, Bosnia Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo*, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain
  • Frontex, Europol, INTERPOL