Geographically situated on the heroin trafficking route originating in the Middle East, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine are exposed to numerous attempts and new methods to smuggle drugs through their countries. Therefore, to successfully fight drug smuggling the Mission puts all its efforts to support international cooperation. This way, thanks to EU Border Assistance Mission facilitated investigation, on 19 June 2021, law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova, together with their Ukrainian counterparts, arrested five drug traffickers and seized 235 kg of heroin bound for the EU.
The large-scale international investigation that involved about one hundred law enforcement officers from Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova began in December last year. Upon the request from the partner services, the Mission provided its advice and assistance to the investigation, creating a platform for cross-border cooperation between law enforcement agencies of both countries. In a course of the joint investigation, it was revealed that an international organised crime group comprised of Turkish and Moldovan citizens created a logistic hub for drug trafficking in the Republic of Moldova. Under the guise of companies specialized in the import and export of construction materials the criminals organised a supply of heroin concealed in bricks. The perpetrators were smuggling heroin from Iran through the territory of Ukraine to Moldova and then further to the EU. As the result of the investigation, law enforcers shut down the international drug trafficking route, bringing to justice 2 Turkish and 3 Moldovan citizens.
A row of joint operational meetings under the auspice of EUBAM not only led to the successful investigation but also enhanced the Moldovan-Ukrainian police and judicial cooperation against illicit drug trafficking. The Head of EUBAM, General Slawomir Pichor highlighted the great joint work demonstrated by the Moldovan and Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. “I would like to congratulate the law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine on successful joint investigation. In the end, the effective cross-border cooperation and the operational information exchange proved once again to be a very useful and effective tool in the fight against transnational organised crime,” the Head of EUBAM concluded.