Police in Europe Tie Card Fraud to People-Smuggling Gang

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Police in Europe Tie Card Fraud to People-Smuggling Gang

Coordinated police raids in Germany and Sweden have resulted in the arrest of two individuals suspected of running a cyber fraud gang that used stolen payment card data to book hundreds of airline and train tickets to help smuggle people from the Middle East into Europe.

The EU’s law enforcement intelligence agency Europol, which helped coordinate the raids, says they were launched after a private sector tip-off. Europol’s European Cybercrime Center subsequently helped police identify suspects, leading to the arrest of two individuals in Malmö and Nörrköping on Monday by Swedish Police.

Europol says the investigation was conducted with support from the EU’s Border and Coast Guard Agency, known as Frontex. The crime group had been tracked by the Federal Police of Germany, known as the Bundespolizei. Last October, German police launched Operation Goldring, which led investigators to the crime group “composed of Syrian nationals, which was involved in fraudulently purchasing airline and train tickets,” Europol says.

German police conducted house searches in Aachen, Dortmund and Essen, while Swedish police conducted house searches in Nörrköping, Malmö and Helsingborg. Authorities say they collectively recovered $118,000 worth of cash, in euros and U.S. dollars, during the raids.

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