French and Romanian authorities, supported by Europol, have dismantled an organized crime network involved in trafficking underage Romanian nationals into forced criminality, forced begging, pickpocketing, handling stolen goods, and money laundering.
The crime ring has been the subject of a large-scale international investigation by the French Gendarmerie and the Romanian Police since last year.
During a joint operation, four houses in France and ten houses in Romania were simultaneously searched by investigators. Eighteen individuals were arrested and authorities seized almost €25,000.- euros, gold, jewelry, luxury watches, and TV sets.
The criminal group was organized on a family and clan kinship basis, carrying out pickpocketing crimes in and around the tourist spots of Paris. This included amusement parks, other busy areas frequented by tourists, and high-speed trains.
The underage victims forced into committing pickpocketing and begging produced criminal profits of up to €7,000 euros a day. The total criminal proceeds are estimated at nearly €1 million euros.
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