Europol helps detain dangerous Belgian fugitive in Spain

24-11-2018, 10:54 | Comments: 0
- Wanted by the Belgian authorities, the fugitive is suspected of carrying out more than 20 robberies with extreme violence, as well as other crimes such as drug trafficking and the illegal trade of firearms.
- He laundered the illicit proceeds from his crimes in Belgium via a restaurant in Spain.
- Arrested following a European Arrest Warrant.

With the support of Europol, the Spanish Guardia Civil, in coordination with the Belgian Federal Police, and the Belgian and Spanish judicial authorities, have arrested a Belgian fugitive described as “very dangerous’’ in Torrevieja, south-east Spain. He escaped from Belgium in January 2018 after committing more than 20 robberies with extreme violence and had been wanted by the Belgian authorities ever since. The suspect belonged to an organised crime group and is the alleged perpetrator of other crimes such as drug trafficking and the illegal trade of firearms.

When the Belgian Federal Police suspected the fugitive could be hiding in Torrevieja, they requested the cooperation of the Spanish Guardia Civil, who launched an investigation and surveillance activities. Europol provided analytical support during the investigation by cross-checking data and facilitated information exchange, as well as smooth international cooperation.

Investigations revealed that the fugitive laundered the illicit proceeds derived from his criminal activity in Belgium through a restaurant in Spain – a cash-intensive business – and then invested the money in real estate.

On the action day on 7 November, the fugitive was arrested in Spain following a European Arrest Warrant launched by the Belgian authorities. Three houses and a restaurant were searched in Spain, resulting in the shutdown of the restaurant used to launder the money and the freezing of two properties, bank accounts and a vehicle, alongside numerous documents, electronic devices, credit cards and a substantial amount of cash.

During the operation, Europol supported the operation on-the-spot by deploying one expert from its Financial Intelligence Unit equipped with a Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED). This allowed for the extraction of data from the mobile and computer devices seized for its posterior analysis.

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