Illegal Weapon Trafficking: 1776 Firearms Seized In The International Crackdown


The rate of illegal weapon trafficking has primarily increased. The weapons are originally from Turkey that is being trafficked into Europe through Bulgaria and other countries. In the bid to tackle the unimaginable illegal weapon trafficking, a total of 24 European countries backed by the EU institutions and agencies have come forward to target the alarming rate of the illicit trade of arms. Europol is also a part of this crackdown.

Operation “BOSPHORUS” had been set up that the Romanian Police (Politia Romana) had led within the framework of the EMPACT or European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats. With the help of Europol’s support, the authorities had collected data and carried out the intelligence analysis of the firearms traders in the initial months of this year. This was done to enable the series of investigations and as well as activities on a national level.

Operation BOSPHORUS: Seizures & Arrests

BOSPHORUS was a yearlong operation that was concluded between the 2nd of November and the 11th of November, 2020 by the joint action days. During the period of the action days, the police officers from several countries such as Greece, Albania, Romania and Portugal had conducted 81 house searches. 

The investigation has yielded the following results:

  • Seizure of one vehicle
  • 11 arrests
  • 164 pieces of pyrotechnics
  • 191 firearms seizure
  • Seizure of 3714 cartridges of ammunition owing to illegal weapon trafficking
  • Fake ID documents
  • Small quantities of drugs inclusive of cocaine and cannabis seized
  • Seizure of unstamped cigarettes packs. 

Additionally, 1585 firearms had been seized prior to the action days where all the participating countries had conducted several investigations and activities.

The Operational Setup


EMPACT Firearms activity’s action leader from the Romanian Police had coordinated the operation to crack down the illegal weapon trafficking gangs. Europol, Spain and Bulgaria had supported the process. The joint action weeks ran through a framework that consisted of an operational upstream work performed by collecting the intelligence, cross-checking the databases and conducting an operational analysis of the European weapon buyers who bought firearms from the Bulgarian dealers. Europol had furnished further support while the action days were under process. The organization had provided the exchange of information and real-time communication amongst the participating countries. 

Disarmament Of The Dark Web Criminals

The alarm and the signal weapons have become popular unimaginably in recent years among the criminals. This is the reason behind the significant figures in the illegal weapon trafficking and seizure cases. The fact that is making this possible is that these firearms can easily be converted into lethal weapons, which are inexpensive to procure.

Europol is actively playing its role in backing up the Member States so that they can fight the criminal networks that are involved in the illegal weapon trafficking along with the trafficking of the explosives. Europol experts are working closely with the counter-terrorism experts on foreign investigations for identifying the criminal networks who are supplying the terrorist groups with ammunition and firearms. Above all, the Europol analysts and specialists combine their effort for assisting the Member States to develop their own resources. This helps these Member States to monitor and tackle the dark web incidences broadly.

Source: Europol

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