More than 800 criminal networks threaten EU, says Europol


A total of 821 criminal networks now threaten to undermine the security of the European Union (EU), according to the bloc's police agency Europol, Report informs referring to DPA.

Professional gangs, many of which operate internationally, have more than 25,000 members, according to a report on organized crime presented in The Hague.

"Serious and organized crime is pervasive and continues to pose a major threat to the internal security of the European Union," Europol said after its first ever coordinated study of the problem using data from the 27 EU members and 17 Europol partner countries.

The report focuses on the most dangerous networks and how they operate, describing them as highly professional, flexible, controlling and destructive.

"They do not operate in an isolated criminal underworld but directly impact EU citizens' lives," the report states, citing examples like the rise in drug-related violence and turf wars on the streets of many EU cities.

It named the powerful 'Ndrangheta families in Italy as prime examples, with profits from drug and arms trafficking being invested throughout Europe in property, supermarkets and hotels.

According to the analysis, every second network is involved in trafficking drugs, mainly cocaine, but also synthetic drugs and cannabis. Other crimes include fraud, burglary and theft, human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

The greatest threat lies in the infiltration of the legal business world, Europol said, with the aim of facilitating and concealing crime and laundering profits. The study found that 86% of the networks used legal business structures and a large majority used corruption and violence among their methods.

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