A Most of the groups analyzed are dedicated to drug trafficking (cocaine, cannabis, heroin, synthetic drugs), frequently operating in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, according to the body based in The Hague.

The report highlights that the networks also operate in the real estate, construction, freight transport, hotel and nightclub sectors, threatening and corrupting prosecutors and judges.

For the first time, Europol is “analyzing in depth” the operations of criminal groups, examining “the strategy of criminal networks to infiltrate the world of legal business, facilitate their criminal activities, conceal crimes and launder criminal profits”.

Around 86% of these criminal groups use “legal business structures”, using lawyers or financial experts “who are sometimes unaware of the criminal origin of the assets”, according to the same source, who notes how nightclubs can also be linked to drug trafficking , extortion and trafficking in human beings and weapons.

Presenting the report in Brussels, Europol director Catherine De Bolle said that this “mapping”, which comes with greater coordination of law enforcement across the EU, “the message to criminal networks is: ‘No longer can hide'”.

De Bolle highlighted how criminal action knows no borders, since among the “25,000 suspects, there are 112 nationalities” and that the leaders in “6% of cases are outside the EU”, namely in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Morocco or in South America”.

Dubai “has become a remote coordination center” where high-level gang members reside, but the city is “not an isolated refuge,” according to the report.

Groups using the Flemish port of Antwerp, a drug trafficking hub in Europe, are “mainly controlled” from third countries, including the Emirates and Morocco, confirmed Belgian Justice Minister Paul Van Tigchelt.

The government official also warned about the arrival of “zombie drugs” in the EU, which have caused an increase in the number of drug-related deaths in the United States.

“We are seeing more and more synthetic drugs, stronger and stronger,” said Van Tigchelt, referring in particular to a substance known as “flakka”.

European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders called on Member States to do more to counter intimidation and acts of corruption.

“We are faced with a harsh reality: the omnipresent threat of these organized crime networks, capable of targeting judges and prosecutors”, acknowledged the European leader, noting that the threats do not spare the young European Public Prosecutor’s Office, a body created two years ago to combat cross-border crime in the EU.

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Source: https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/mundo/2534818/europol-registou-as-821-redes-criminosas-mais-perigosas-da-europa

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