In collaboration with Europol, UK, French and German law enforcement authorities today arrested 18 people suspected of being part of an organised illegal immigration network.
In this operation, Europol, Eurojust, UK Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers, Kent Police, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Paris Police in France and the Federal Police in Germany joined forces against the criminal network who were involved in illegally transporting South Asian immigrants into the UK.
At around 5am this morning simultaneous raids were made involving around 120 immigration and police officers alone in the UK.
The criminal network has predominantly assisted Sri Lankan irregular migrants’ attempts to reach the UK by smuggling them mainly in vehicles through Germany and the French Channel ports. Some would also travel from the UK onwards to North America using falsified documents. It is believed the irregular migrants were charged around €5000 each to reach the UK. During the joint operation, 11 suspects were arrested in the UK and 7 in France.
All the people arrested, except for one Dutch national, were of Sri Lankan origin. Computers, documents, a significant amount of cash and mobile phones were seized from a number of addresses and will now be examined. Documents relating to various bank accounts that were used to facilitate the criminal activity were also seized. During the common action day, Europol deployed a mobile office to France and the UK to support the operation with on-the-spot intelligence analysis. Moreover, an International Coordination Centre was set up in the UK to support and coordinate law enforcement authorities in the countries where the arrests took place.
Throughout the investigation, Europol and Eurojust hosted several operational meetings and Europol also provided tailored analytical support to the investigators.
Published in International
I WAS on the phone last night to Steven Spielberg. We were discussing my latest crime thriller, Retribution, which he’s optioned to direct and scheduled for a Hollywood red carpet première in spring 2014.
We talked about all the usual stuff. Investors and rights, casting and locations. I said my own production company (‘Nora-Johnson Productions Ltd’) would deal with the investment/ production issues and have sole commercial rights for spin-offs etc.
“The movie’s a sure-fire winner,” Spielberg kept repeating excitedly, “an opportunity for everyone to invest early on and make pots of money.” (To get involved, simply send a cheque to ‘Nora-Johnson Productions Ltd’, address on my website: www.nora-johnson.com).
As for casting, I suggested Kate Winslet to play Alice Myers, the investigative journalist. Brad Pitt to play the police investigator, DI Neil Hunter, and Ryan Gosling the criminal profiler, Dr Jake Leighfield, Alice’s ex-lover.
When Spielberg proposed filming in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, I emphasised the importance of the novel’s setting, an isolated, inward-looking community in the New Forest, Hampshire that refused to move with the times.
But he still preferred Martha’s Vineyard where he’d set his blockbuster Jaws. Those shark’s teeth then suddenly came into painfully sharp focus, waking me up with a start!
Yes, that was just a dream, but the novel is real.
My just-published crime thriller, Retribution - next in the series featuring the journalist, Alice Myers, from Soul Stealer - deals with the puzzling death of her closest childhood friend.
She can’t understand why Ellie suddenly broke contact years ago. Is Alice to blame? In unravelling the mystery of Ellie’s unexpected death - and the subsequent murders together with DI Hunter (with enough red herrings for a Spanish fishing fleet!) - Alice unearths secrets and confronts truths she can hardly believe.
Aah! A lovely dream nonetheless. But if anybody else’s interested in Retribution -The Movie then you know where to find me! Meanwhile, Retribution’savailable in paperback and eBook.
Finally, all profits from the sale of my novels go to Cudeca, which like charities everywhere, needs help. So, if you’ve enjoyed my novels, please help me to help Cudeca by writing a review on Amazon to encourage others to purchase. Every little helps and your review could make all the difference! Thanks so much! (See Book Review.)
Nora Johnson’s thrillers ‘Retribution’,‘Soul Stealer’,‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.89; £0.77)and iBookstore. Profits to Cudeca
Published in Nora Johnson
ANYONE who is the victim of a crime or is in an accident in Spain must report the incident to the police.
Reports must be made within two months of the incident if criminal proceedings are to be taken. Reports must be lodged within one year of the incident for civil proceedings.
You can make the report online via the National Police website https://denuncias.policia.es/OVD or in person at the nearest police station or Guardia Civil office.
Some crimes must be reported in person. When necessary, an interpreter will be provided.
Completed statements and police reports will then be submitted to an Examining Magistrate for consideration and to decide whether further investigation or arrests will be carried out.
Police reports are considered to be court property and are not readily available to the general public.
A magistrate will summon witnesses as necessary. It can take up to two years or longer for a case to be brought to trial.
Injured parties may engage private lawyers to help prosecute their case. There is not provision for this expenditure to be reimbursed other than as part of a general judgement on costs.
Legal Aid is available for people who can show insufficient economic income. A provincial commission, based in each region evaluates cases. If a case is won and substantial compensation is paid, a claimant granted legal aid may be required to reimburse costs.
Published in Just Fancy That
A FORMER police officer has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for stealing drugs from Sevilla Provincial Police Station in between 2006 and 2008.
The officer was a member of the Drugs and Organised Crime Unit (Udyco), and with the help of another man and their respective partners, they stole more than 150 kilos of cocaine and heroin, then hid the money they had made from selling them.
One of the women made small packages which they swapped for the stolen drugs so no-one would notice they were gone.
Following that, they bought luxury goods, including a 12-metre yacht in 2009 which had been seized from drug smugglers and auctioned by the police.
His partner has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, his wife to two-and-a-half years in prison and his partner’s wife to six years in prison.
They will also have to pay fines amounting to €15 million and will be embargoed to ensure payment.
Published in Spain
Tourists heading for an Easter break by the Mediterranean are being warned to look out for their valuables when visiting busy urban areas.
British Consulates in Spain are reporting rising trends in the number of street crimes involving stolen passports, money and other valuables. A stolen bag leads to frustration, extra costs and lost holiday time as tourists deal with the consequences.
The British Consulate in Barcelona, one of the most popular visitor cities in Europe, issued 1,320 emergency travel documents (ETD) in 2012 - some 75 per cent of which were the result of stolen passports. This was an increase of 19 per cent from 1,072 during the previous year. During the first two months of this year, the number of ETD issued was 120, a 20 per cent rise on the 100 provided during the same period last year.
Meanwhile in Madrid, the British Consulate issued 362 ETD during 2012 – the equivalent of one a day – up 23 per cent from 294 the previous year. During January and February this year 50 were issued, a 10 per cent increase on the 45 during the same period last year.
An ETD – which enables a traveller to return to the UK if they have lost their passport - currently costs €115 (approx 100 pounds).
Dave Thomas, Consular Director for Southern Europe, said, 'Unfortunately we have seen increases in pickpocketing and distraction thefts. We urge holidaymakers to keep an eye on their belongings at all times. We want to reduce the numbers of British visitors who come to us for help over stolen passports and belongings, so they can get on with enjoying their Easter breaks instead of spending their precious holiday time in our consular offices'.
British Consulates in Spain are working with local police, tour operators, airports, ports, car hire companies and main railway stations to help tackle city crime.
The three main methods used by city criminals are:
- Pickpocketing on public transport and in busy areas.
- Distraction techniques (asking victims for help or directions, spilling something on clothes and offering to help).
- Unattended bag / handbag snatching in hotels, restaurants, cafés, airport and train station.
Published in Spain
A MAN aged 47 was held by National Police in Marbella after chasing another with a knife, with the alleged intention of attacking him in a dispute over a stolen mobile phone.
A 40-YEAR-OLD man sought by the Argentinean authorities in a counterfeiting case, for which he faces six years in jail, was held by police in Malaga.
TWO youths, both 17, were caught by Local Police setting fire to a motorbike in Malaga and reported. Thanks to the rapid intervention of the police, the motorbike was not seriously damaged.
TWO people were arrested after they were found to be carrying more than 21 kilos of hashish in their vehicle. They also had €2,000 in cash and seven mobile phones, Malaga Guardia Civil claim.
TEN tonnes of olives were stolen from three properties in Malaga province in just two days, the Young Farmers’ Association reports. It is demanding that police increase surveillance in rural areas.
MALAGA Anti-corruption Prosecutor is asking for three years in prison for three people accused in the ‘Nilo’ lottery scam. There were 168 people accused in the case, most of them Nigerians.
A MEMBER of the Andalucian Workers Union (SAT) is on trial in Marbella for allegedly scratching a National Police van with a key during the general strike in March last year. The prosecution is asking for fines of €377 for the damage and €500 for insulting the police.
THE Andalucian Government is looking after an under-17 girl who tried to leave Malaga’s Maternity Hospital with her newborn child hidden in a bag without telling doctors.
MALAGA court has confirmed a sentence of 10 years on a man, aged 41, who killed his wife with an axe in the El Palo area.
TWO men aged 23 and 33 were held by Malaga Local Police as they were allegedly forcing a home’s front door in Campanillas. They now face trial.
ON THE RUN
A MOROCCAN man aged 34 was held by National Police in Malaga as he had been sentenced to 30 years in jail by an Italian court for belonging to a drug and crime network.
A MAN faces 14 years in jail as he was charged with killing his Ecuadorian neighbour in Malaga, following an argument over a stolen tracksuit.
EIGHT motorbikes in the Local Police's headquarters in Malaga's Puerto de la Torre area were found with their locks vandalised.
TWO youths aged 19 were held by National Police in Benalmadena for the alleged robbery of two houses and a locker room. Tools, video-games, and televisions were recovered
SCAM SLIMMING CASE
TWO people have been held accused of selling an illegal and potentially dangerous slimming product.
The two arrested in Marbella by Guardia Civil officers were allegedly selling ‘Reduce Weight’ branded fat-reducing products over the internet. They are accused of fraud.
Although marketed as a natural medication, the product had been listed by the European Union as potentially hazardous.
The pills contain an ingredient - not stated in the composition - that can lead to heart strokes and brain haemorrhage, say police. During the raids more than 8,500 capsules, around 400 bottles and 600 security seals were seized.
ALLEGEDLY DRUNK AND DERANGED
A RUSSIAN woman, aged 27, was held by Local Police in Las Lagunas, Mijas, after allegedly hitting an officer.
The Malaga city resident is also accused of insulting behaviour and threatening to kill the families of the arresting officers.
Police reports state that they found the woman sitting on the floor inside the flat of a Ukrainian man, aged 29.
They both smelt of alcohol and showed signs of violence. When the officers asked the woman what happened, she suddenly begun to shout abusively, then hit one of the officers.
Neighbours had called police after hearing a furious argument and finding blood on the apartment block’s landing. Police investigations found the couple had been thrown out of the flat by the landlady that night.
POLICE RAIDS HIT DRUG DENS
TEN drug dens were closed and 17 people arrested during a series of police raids in different parts of Malaga city.
During one of the raids in Calle Hernando Soto, code-named Operation Garbo, four Spaniards and a Bulgarian were held, with cocaine, heroine and marihuana, as well as €475 in cash seized.
FOUR masked robbers are being sought after they burst into a Malaga drink distribution company.
A gun was gun fired in the air to intimidate workers. One employee tried to escape but was chased by an assailant, and forced back inside.
Other gang members took an undisclosed amount of money before making a get away by car. Now police are examining video tape of the incident looking for clues. The whole raid lasted 35 seconds as timed by the firm’s security camera.
JAILED FOR GUN CRIME
A MAN has been jailed for six years for hoarding an arsenal of illegal weapons at his Malaga home.
A city court decided that the man was fully aware that he was hiding forbidden guns and ammunition. Among the weapons seized by the National Police were a machine gun and a semi-automatic handgun.
CLEARED OF FATHER ASSAULT
A MAN was acquitted by Malaga Provincial Court of assaulting his father after the alleged victim failed to attend the trial.
According to a police report, father and son had fought in the family home in Marbella. The father accused his son of pushing him, making him fall on to a bathtub and causing serious lip and mouth injuries, including the loss of two teeth.
As the prosecution was based solely on the father’s report, without him testifying in court the son was declared innocent.
TOURTURED BY DRUGS GANG
POLICE raiding a suspected drugs den rescued three people who had been kidnapped and tortured for days by a gang of dealers.
Officers who had stopped a woman found two kilos of cocaine in her car. That led them to the rest of the gang of eight who are alleged to have distributed drugs throughout Almeria, Malaga and Alicante provinces.
During a raid on a Malaga city house,officers found the three victims. The gang had allegedly held them against their will after accusing them of stealing drugs. Police seized 150 kilos of hashish, four vehicles and €5,000.
A COLOMBIAN man on the run from a German court has been held in Arroyo de la Miel.
The 48 year old was arrested by National Police who discovered he was wanted for the armed robbery of a jeweller’s shop in Bonn. He is facing 15 years in prison.
A NETWORK that allegedly smuggled drugs to France from the Costa del Sol has been broken up in Benalmadena.
An Algerian man, aged 32, and two French men aged 34 and 32 were held. A fourth member is being sought.
They are accused of storing the drug in Spain to later take to France using stolen vehicles.
During the raid, 163 kilos of hashish, a gun and three vehicles were confiscated.
A SPATE of thefts in homes and shops in Bejar by a group of around seven minors aged 13 to 14 have left the town´s population and authorities feeling impotent.
Dozens of crimes have been reported over the last few weeks including a smash-and-grab at an electrical appliances store, where they took three large televisions, a broken hairdressers’ window, a computer shop theft and or several attempted burglaries, even with the residents inside. They have also used violence, like pushing the owner of a pharmacy before taking the till and threatening the owner of a callbox with a knife to, yet again steal the till.
Also they are not picky about where to commit their crimes, be it low houses, tower blocks or even farms.
Bejar Mayor Antonio Torres explained that “those responsible have been arrested by Guardia Civil several times and are perfectly identified. It is a group of around seven minors aged 13 to 14 who keep getting released after every arrest for being underage.”
Published in Costa de Almería
CRIME in the Murcia region fell in 2011.
And drink-driving offences fell by 15.41 per cent to 5,300. Another 1,500 cases were brought for driving without a license.
The Office of the High Court of Justice of Murcia (TSJM) in 2011 opened a total of 132,495 cases, which is a reduction in crime of 5.9 percent compared to 2010.
Chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Manuel Lopez Bernal, believes that the overall figures brings “good news” since the figures show falls across the board in most areas.
In 2011 there were a total of 4,424 crimes of domestic violence, a 10.64 per cent fall from 2010, and 223 convictions were made.
The chief prosecutor explained that this area sees the greatest number of acquittals due mainly to the victim refusing to testify against their spouse.
Crime within the family decreased by 15.2 per cent compared to 2010.
In other areas, such as the environment, the Office of the High Court started 27 prosecutions for crimes related to toxic waste, water encroachment, noise or illegal dumping.
Published in Costa Blanca South
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