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An internationally organized criminal group has been exposed

Lithuanian Police photo

Yesterday early morning the Lithuanian Police, together with the National Police of the Kingdom of Spain, in close cooperation with Europol and Eurojust, launched detention operations in Lithuania and Spain at an agreed time against members of an organized criminal gang who had been involved in human trafficking and profiting from another person’s prostitution internationally.

In the first half of 2018, police officers, analyzing incoming information and certain incidents, discovered that there is an internationally organized criminal group operating in Lithuania that is involved in the organization of illegal ‘business’ profiting from prostitution of women, and eliminating rivals by brutal violence and other means, dangerous to the public.

In order to neutralize the activities of this group, officers from the Criminal Police Organized Crime Investigation Board of the Vilnius County Police Headquarters initiated a pre-trial investigation, conducted a full range of pre-trial investigation activities, which resulted in the identification of the organized criminal gang members, the character and the scale of their activity. As the activities of the gang covered more than one region of Lithuania, officers from Tauragė and Alytus counties joined the investigation, and once the organizers of this group were established, the investigation acquired a wide international dimension, which led to close cooperation with law enforcement officials from the Kingdom of Spain.

The representatives of Europol and Eurojust, who provided direct access to the capabilities of these international bodies, helped ensure smooth co-operation and co-ordination of operations in a number of countries in this cross-border investigation. The desired results were also achieved through smooth cooperation with the Lithuanian Post.

As part of this long-term pre-trial investigation, a large-scale international detention operation was carried out in nine counties of the Republic of Lithuania and in the Province of Malaga of the Kingdom of Spain on 12-11-2019, during which two major organizers of this criminal group were arrested in Spain, and thirteen gang members in Lithuania. During the operation, about 50 searches were conducted involving the seizure of tens of thousands of euros in cash, narcotic and psychotropic substances, counterfeit documents and cash, bank and SIM cards, weapons and ammunition, masks, violence tools, a car with police light bars. There has also been a temporary restriction of property rights imposed on the suspects’ assets. In the detention operation, the Lithuanian Police Anti-terrorist Operations Unit ARAS and the officers from the mobile unit of the Public Police Board of the Vilnius County Police Headquarters took part.

Those arrested have previously been convicted, allegations of robbery, trafficking in human beings, profiting from another person's prostitution, damage to property in a manner dangerous to the public and other crimes have been made against them, they were interrogated, and today the issue of the most strictest pre-trial detention measure – the arrest, which will result in a lawsuit, will be addressed. There are likely to be more detainees.

This pre-trial investigation is organized and controlled by the prosecutors from the Organized Crime and Corruption Investigation Division of the Vilnius Regional Prosecutor’s.