As much as 4 tonnes of hashish, 20,000 litres of alcohol and some 15 tonnes of counterfeit clothing were seized by the police and customs from all European Union and a few neighbouring countries in the course of four operations in 1998. These operations were partly funded from the EU budget, through the OISIN programme. Each of the four operations targeted a specific form of transport used by traffickers: air cargo and maritime, container and road traffic. The aim of the surveillance operation Quest was to detect contraband in air cargo. The operation in question involved airports in 21 countries, including the 15 member states, and was co-ordinated by the Netherlands, with the help of the UK, Belgium and Germany. Thanks to rapid exchanges of information, and carefully-targeted checks, it was possible to seize a wide range of contraband goods, including cocaine, cannabis, alcohol and cigarettes, clothing and other counterfeit goods, banned medicines and even animals protected under an international convention. Operation Trident covered maritime traffic. Here the operation was directed by Italy and involved 13 EU maritime nations as well as Norway. It consisted of detecting pleasure boats and other vessels likely to be used by traffickers, monitoring their movements, then boarding suspect vessels. The operation resulted in the seizure of hashish, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol. Here, too, the sharing of information played an import role, thanks notably to SCENT, the European computerized customs system. The use of containers for drug trafficking was at the centre of Operation Felix, a joint surveillance exercise involving 28 countries under the leadership of the UK. The aim was to detect and seize the illegal drugs in question, and analyse the techniques and routes used by the traffickers. Thanks to Operation Felix, large quantities of cocaine and cannabis were seized. In addition to the sharing of information between customs officers, databanks on trade flows contributed substantially to the success of the operation. Operation Roadrunner, the last of the four, was aimed at combating drug smuggling via the Balkan route. It involved all EU member states as well as the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, particularly Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. The operation was conducted jointly by the World Customs Organization and Interpol. The goods seized included heroin, marijuana, amphetamines, counterfeit textiles and clothing, contraband cigarettes, counterfeit dollars and Deutsche marks and even military equipment, found in the Ukraine.
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