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Migrants, Guns & Cigarettes: Inside the Dark Network of a Dismantled Turkish Crime Syndicate in Italy

– Italian police, with Europol’s aid, dismantled a Turkish crime syndicate involved in homicides and trafficking.
– 17 Turkish nationals arrested; the investigation began in Como, Italy, in October 2023.



Europol Scores Major Victory: Italian Police Bust Turkish Murder Gang

Launching a crackdown on organized crime, Italian authorities, with the support of Europol, have successfully dismantled a Turkish criminal organization involved in multiple homicides and various other illegal activities across Europe. The coordinated action led to the arrest of 17 individuals, all Turkish nationals, and marked a major victory in the fight against transnational crime.

The investigation, spearheaded by the Italian State Police (Polizia di Stato) and supported by the Italian Financial Police (Guardia di Finanza), began in October 2023 in Como, Italy. The breakthrough came after the arrest of three members of the organization who were found in possession of firearms. Among those apprehended was the head of the criminal organization.

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Multifaceted Criminal Activities Uncovered

This Turkish criminal organization had a wide-reaching impact, engaging in numerous illegal activities. These included:

  • Homicides: The group was involved in multiple murders across Europe, highlighting their dangerous reach and violent tendencies.
  • Human Trafficking: They orchestrated the transport of migrants, exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit.
  • Drug Trafficking: The organization played a significant role in the distribution and trafficking of drugs, contributing to the widespread narcotics issue in Europe.
  • Counterfeit Cigarette Smuggling: They were also involved in the smuggling of counterfeit cigarettes, undermining public health and evading taxes.

Financial Networks and International Reach

The investigation revealed complex financial flows from abroad that funded the organization’s illegal activities in Europe. This discovery underscored the sophisticated nature of their operations and the challenge of dismantling such well-financed criminal networks.

Europol’s involvement was crucial to the operation’s success. Two Europol experts were deployed to Viterbo, Italy, to assist with the analysis of intelligence and coordination of actions. Since the end of 2022, Europol has been empowered with a new mandate allowing the agency to concentrate on violent crimes, including those connected with serious and organized crime groups. This enhanced focus played a pivotal role in targeting and dismantling this dangerous organization.

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A Milestone in Combating Organized Crime

This operation marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to combat organized crime in Europe. The collaboration between Italian authorities and Europol exemplifies the importance of international cooperation in addressing transnational criminal activities. The arrests have not only disrupted a major criminal network but also sent a strong message to other organized crime groups operating in Europe.

The dismantling of this Turkish criminal organization is a testament to the dedication and effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in Italy and across Europe. It highlights the ongoing need for vigilance and cooperation in the fight against organized crime to ensure the safety and security of citizens.

As the investigation continues, authorities remain committed to uncovering the full extent of the organization’s activities and bringing all involved to justice. This operation serves as a reminder of the relentless efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and protect communities from the threat of organized criminal networks.


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