Europol Assesses Baltic Organized Crime Hub
The EU's criminal intelligence agency Europol has once again identified the Baltics as one of the bloc's five organized crime hotspots, one particularly active in moving narcotics and contraband cigarettes into and out of Russia.
Europol's Organized Crime Threat Assessment for 2011 defined Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Russian Federation exclave of Kaliningrad as the northeast criminal hub, singling out the prevalence of crime groups in Lithuania, which it said were active in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.
Though the 38-page report included few references to Estonia specifically, mainly characterizing the region's criminal activity in broad strokes, it did mention that both Estonian and Lithuanian groups were involved in drug trafficking and armed robberies in other member states.
Europol defined the other crime hubs in the EU as the northwest - comprising the Netherlands and Belgium; southeast - made up of Bulgaria, Romania and Greece; the south - centered on southern Italy; and southwest - Spain and Portugal.