106 Irish arrests in massive Europol swoop on organised crime
MORE than 100 people in Ireland have been arrested as part of an extensive Europol-led swoop on organised crime across 34 countries.
Police picked up more than 1,000 suspects and rescued 30 trafficked children in the operation, dubbed Archimedes.
The unprecedented action took place over nine days from September 15 and was "the single largest coordinated assault on organised crime in Europe", Europol chief Rob Wainwright said.
"Multiple criminal enterprises, some of them the most serious, have been disrupted right across Europe," he added at the organisation's headquarters in The Hague.
"We designed an operation specifically to hit criminal infrastructure."
In Ireland, 106 people were arrested - 27 on foot of 60 different outstanding arrest warrants.
The remaining 79 were allegedly caught in the act of a crime.
Of the suspects picked up here, the majority were arrested in connection with burglary, robbery or theft offences, with a combined 59 arrests.
There was one arrest for drug cultivation, four for handling stolen property, three for possession of offensive weapons and four for criminal damage.
One person was arrested for sexual offences, two for public order offences and four for counterfeiting euro notes.
One person was also arrested on foot of a European arrest warrant.
In the wider international operation, 1,027 arrests were made, including 250 in Spain and 200 in Bulgaria.
In one of the raids, 30 Romanian children were saved from child traffickers aiming to use them as sex slaves or slave labour.
A total of 599kg of cocaine, 200kg of heroin and 1.3 tonnes of cannabis were also seized.
Hundreds of locations were searched and Operation Archimedes had the cooperation of Eurojust, Frontex and Interpol.
All 28 EU member states took part as well as Australia, Colombia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and the USA.
Raids took place at locations including airports, border crossing points, ports and specific known crime hot spots in towns and cities.
"Joint action days have become a regular feature over the years of the EU law enforcement response to specific aspects of organised crime," a statement from Europol said.
As part of the operation, investigators targeted key infrastructures used by criminal groups.
These included the use of the internet as a facilitator for crime and the illicit movement of criminal proceeds using money transfer systems.
Nine 'impact areas' were targeted.
•Trafficking in human beings.
•Facilitated illegal immigration.
•Cocaine and heroin trafficking.
•Excise and carousel fraud.
•Organised property crime.
•Cybercrime including transnational child sex offenders and payment fraud.
The arrests during the sweep were mainly made among criminal middlemen and group mediators.