News Release


Frontex plays key role in operation against crime in Western Balkans

2019-09-10

Last week, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, co-led an international operation against serious and organised cross border crime in the Western Balkans region.

The four-day operation, known as Joint Action Day (JAD) Western Balkans, focused on combatting firearms and drugs trafficking, irregular migration and document fraud.  It was led by Spain and co-led by Frontex, Europol, Germany and Bulgaria. In total, 30 countries, eight agencies and a number of international organisations, including Interpol and UNODC, teamed up to help the region’s authorities combat crime.

The operation resulted in:

  • Detection of 14 cases of visa fraud or misuse
  • Detection of 71 forged or falsified documents
  • Detection of 164 clandestine entries
  • Seizure of 51 firearms and 895 pieces of ammunition 

A coordination centre was set up at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague to support the exchange of intelligence among the participants. During the operation, officers from member states performed intensified checks in areas identified as high-risk based on information collected and analysed in the centre.

Frontex has a major role in tackling cross-border crime at the EU external borders. It contributed to the operation by performing intensified controls at selected border crossing points and border surveillance activities as part of its ongoing field activities in the region. 

The agency also supported the action in combatting document fraud. Experts from the Frontex Centre of Excellence for Combating Document Fraud were available during the whole operation through a helpdesk service, helping officers determine whether the documents they were checking were genuine.

The operation was coordinated under the umbrella of the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) as part of the EU Policy Cycle, a four-year plan for the fight against serious and organised crime. It brings together police and law enforcement authorities of EU Member States, European agencies and international organisations to jointly strengthen Europe’s borders and internal security. The results and intelligence gathered will help in ongoing and future investigations.

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