Eurojust Press Release – 22 April 2009.

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The Hague, 22 April 2009

Eurojust coordinated arrests in drugs case

Following coordination meetings at Eurojust, the Italian, Dutch and Colombian authorities made several coordinated and simultaneous arrests in a large case of trafficking in human beings in order to finance drug trafficking.

This week, 62 suspects were arrested by the Italian police in a drug trafficking case. The case, involving Italy, the Netherlands and Colombia, was lead by the Antimafia Public Prosecutor of Naples. The criminals were acting as an international criminal organisation, trafficking human beings from Nigeria to the Netherlands, to finance their drugs operations.

This was the second step in a large case. In June 2008,

The criminal organisation, based in Nigeria, was trafficking Nigerian women to Amsterdam, where they were seeking asylum. After arriving in a safe house, they were transported by the criminal organisation to Italy, France and Spain and forced into prostitution. With the money earned from prostitution, the criminals were able to buy large amounts of cocaine in Colombia, to be shipped to Europe.

On the request by the Italian Antimafia Public Prosecutor of Naples, Eurojust organised a coordination meeting in March 2009. The judicial authorities from Colombia and the Netherlands, and the Italian prosecutor and police officers, attended the meeting. In this meeting, by exchanging information and experiences, they paved the way for the arrests of suspects in Europe and Colombia, and identified all the legal and factual difficulties for extradition and surrender of the suspects after arrest.

Thanks to the coordination meetings held at Eurojust, it was possible to prove the links between the trafficking in human beings, the exploitation of women and the financing of drugs activities by criminals.

Today, Mr Filippo Spiezia, Deputy National Member for Italy, commented:

“We had very good cooperation with the Dutch authorities to open new investigations against Nigerian criminals based in Amsterdam. This cooperation supported the Italian interests in this important case, and we were able to coordinate between the Colombian and Italian judicial authorities. We identified the legal and practical problems, and we found solutions to overcome them for extradition and surrender of the suspects. We focused also on strategic objectives for judicial cooperation between Europe and Colombia, and other National Members at Eurojust were also involved. The fact that at Eurojust we have 27 prosecutors, one from each Member State, permanently based in The Hague, was highly appreciated by the Colombian authorities. We created a special bridge between Europe and Colombia, as this case will continue.”

For more information:
Joannes Thuy, Press Officer & Spokesperson

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