The head of Europol has said it is "unusual" for Police chiefs to be involved in drug trafficking.
Responding to questions over today’s arrests in Portugal of two members of the Judicial Police, the Europol Director, Robert Wainwright, added that he regretted that the corruption of police officials continues to be a facilitator in several crimes.
The Briton, who heads the agency that coordinates European police forces, said police collusion, especially in drug trafficking was one of many areas of corruption, yet said cases were unusual in Europe.
Wainwright was answering press questions after the presentation of the European Report on Drug Markets, and said he was waiting for more information about the operation against drug trafficking in Portugal, which has led to the arrest of PJ agents.
"I am sure that the Portuguese authorities will share with us information about this operation in the coming days," Wainwright said, regretted the involvement of officers in drug trafficking, "if it is established."
Portugal’s National Unit for Combating Corruption today mounted dawn raids resulting in the arrests of at least one serving Judicial Police officer and one retired officer. Both are suspected of being involved in drug trafficking crimes, money laundering and corruption.
The arrests were supervised by the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action and police said that there more people have detained in the "very complex and time consuming" investigation that has been going on for several years.
At issue is the "receipt of backhanders from major trafficking networks for providing inside information and creating diversions which has allowed the entry of large amounts of cocaine into Portugal in the last few years."
The Judicial Police press office said today that ‘Operation Achilles’ has resulted in the arrest of 15 men aged between 39 and 61, for corruption, money laundering and drug trafficking.
The operation mobilised 250 PJ officers, as well as judges and public prosecutors with around 120 searches of houses and offices across Portugal but mostly in Oporto and Lisbon.
The allegations are that the police officers have received thousands of euros from drug traffickers over the years to halt and hamper investigations into their drug importation and distribution activities.
One of those arrested holds a high up position in the Judicial Police as a Chief Inspector working at the National Unit for Combating Drug Trafficking. The second officer arrested also worked in this unit until leaving two years ago for a particularly well funded retirement.
Their houses were searched by fellow officers early this morning and ‘important documentation’ has been seized.