Frontex contributes to dismantling the criminal networks through gathering information from debriefing activities with migrants and passing them on to national authorities and Europol. Frontex can also collect personal data of persons suspected of people smuggling, terrorism and other cross-border crimes, which it shares with national authorities, Europol and other European agencies.

In its operations, Frontex deploys debriefers – officers who conduct voluntary interviews with migrants to collect information about the smuggling networks. The agency shares this information with the national authorities of the countries hosting our operations for them to launch relevant investigations and arrests. It is important to underline that Frontex does not have the mandate to run investigations either on the territory of the EU or non-EU countries.

In 2018, 158 tonnes of illegal drugs were seized in Frontex operations.

Frontex has been active in assisting EU Member States to track down document fraud. Earlier this year it established the Centre of Excellence for Combatting Document Fraud to fulfil the agency’s expanded role in combatting cross border crime.

For years Frontex has deployed document fraud experts in joint operations at the EU external borders and supported the process of the identification and registration of migrants in hotspots. In operations run by Frontex, hundreds of fraudulent documents are detected every year.

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Highlighting the agency’s enhanced role in combatting cross border crime, this year Frontex launched the Centre of Excellence for Combatting Document Fraud to support Member States and address the threats to EU’s security connected with document fraud.

The Centre’s primary task is to provide support for combatting document fraud in joint operations. Frontex developed a reference manual for border guards containing images of passports, identity cards, and visas, to help them determine whether the document in front of them is genuine.

The Centre of Excellence for Combatting Document Fraud will also contribute to the work of a number of Frontex units, including risk analysis, training, as well as research and innovation. In turn, the Centre will improve the operational response to specific threats observed at the external border based on information from those units.

Frontex, in cooperation with the EU member states, plays an important role in fighting terrorism and other cross-border crimes. The hundreds of specialised border guard officers taking part in Frontex operations do this through screening, registration, document checks and intelligence gathering at the borders. All of these actions support member states in identifying terrorism suspects or persons of interest. Frontex also regularly provides intelligence to Europol.

Checks at the external borders remain one of the main safeguards of the Schengen area and significantly contribute to guaranteeing the long-term security of the EU and its citizens.

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