Cross-border operation targets migrant smuggling network active across the English Channel


A large-scale operation involving law enforcement and judicial authorities from Belgium, France and Germany and coordinated by Europol and Eurojust, has led to the dismantling of one of the most active networks involved in the smuggling of migrants across the English Channel in small boats. 

The investigation focused on an Iraqi-Kurdish network suspected of smuggling middle-Eastern and East African irregular migrants from France to the UK with the use of low quality inflatable boats. German authorities raided houses and storage spaces. 

This resulted in the arrest of more than 15 individuals under Belgian and French judicial orders following a year and a half long joint investigation under Europol’s OTF Wave. The full press release about the case will be published on 22 February.

Involved law enforcement authorities:

  • Belgium: Federal judicial Police of West-Flanders 
  • France: French Border Police (OLTIM-Antenne de Coquelles)
  • Germany: German Federal Police (Bundespolizei) 

Involved judicial authorities:

  • Belgium: Investigative Judge of West-Flanders, section Bruges; Federal Prosecutors’ Office 
  • France: JIRS Lille (Interregional Specialised Jurisdiction), Court of Lille
  • Germany: General Public Prosecutor`s Offices Düsseldorf, Hamm, Köln, Naumburg; Public Prosecutor`s Office Bonn.