Combating cross-border crime between Ukraine and Moldova: joint operation helps seize smuggled goods worth 3.2 million euros

Operation AKKERMAN, a Joint Border Control Operation coordinated by the EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), has enabled the seizure of smuggled goods worth €3.2 million this year. “The outstanding result of AKKERMAN 2011 is the indisputable evidence that in order to combat cross-border crime, effective cooperation and the coordination of activities between relevant agencies in Moldova and Ukraine is absolutely essential,” said Piotr Bartoszek, EUBAM’s investigation specialist.
This annual initiative is aimed at promoting cross border cooperation between the law enforcement authorities of Ukraine, Moldova and the EU Member States in the detection of smuggled items and other illicit cross-border activity.
During its two intelligence-led operational phases conducted in 2011, the second of which took place in September, operation AKKERMAN led to a substantial increase in the number of seizures of smuggled goods such as cigarettes, alcohol and stolen vehicles, and detections of custom fraud. This represents a six-fold increase on the value of goods detected during joint border control operation ‘TYRA’ in 2010.
In total, Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities succeeded in identifying 272 crimes and violations of different types during AKKERMAN, including 85 cases related to tobacco smuggling, 52 cases of customs fraud and tax evasion, and 29 cases to illegal migration and Trafficking in Human Beings.
To achieve this objective, AKKERMAN built on the experience of previous operations by intensifying information exchange and the use of risk analysis, and by establishing task forces to target specific types of criminality. As with other operations, its areas of operations were the Moldova-Ukraine border, plus Odessa and Ilyichevsk ports.
AKKERMAN is the 8th such operation to have been coordinated by EUBAM together with its border-guard, customs, and law-enforcement partners in Moldova and Ukraine, as well as international organisations and law-enforcement authorities of EU Member States.
Though the strengthening of inter-agency and international cooperation is the primary objective of a JBCO, it has many other benefits.  Information gathered during such operations, for instance, can subsequently be used for the purposes of risk assessment and investigations.
The EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) contributes to the delivery of good quality border and customs services to the citizens and companies of Moldova, Ukraine and the European Union. Together with border guard and customs services of Moldova and Ukraine the Mission facilitates people-to-people contacts, legitimate trade and security. (ENPI Info Centre)
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