Operation Green Heart, launched on 19th of November 2018, has come to an end. Mandated raids were executed across 13 European countries in 300 apartments and resulted in the arrest of 235 people. The majority of the interventions were executed between the 3rd and 6th of December 2018.
The EUROPOL-coordinated operation was possible thanks to the arrest in June 2018 of a significant counterfeit money printer from Leoben, Styria, Austria. The 33-year-old man is estimated to have sold over half of million euros over the darknet, especially in Europe and the Alpine countries. Most interestingly, the banknotes displayed a type of Chinese hologram. The tickets were produced in fifty, twenty, and ten euro notes.
“Green Heart” operation was named after the Austrian federal state of Styria located in the central part of the country, similar to that of a heart. As poetic as it may seem, the raids weren’t at all. It involved hundreds of officers, months of intel gathering and sharing across international intelligence agencies, and resulted in the mandated raid of 300 apartments across Europe: 180 searches were carried out in Germany, 28 in France, 20 in Italy, 20 in Austria, as much in Spain, and others in Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
In Germany, searches were carried out on more than 160 suspects in all federal states. Just this Wednesday, 5th of December 2018, four suspects were arrested in Offenbach for buying and selling counterfeit notes. More noteworthy is the arrest of three suspects in Unterföhring, Bavaria who had previously purchased the equivalent of 100 thousand euros in fake money from Naples and brought them back to Germany.
Austria also witnesses multiple arrests. One of which involves a 21-year-old worker who bought fake euro notes to purchase marijuana off the streets.
Spain also saw the detention of 18 people throughout the state. The Spanish National police confiscated 15 thousand fake euros. Spanish law enforcement got tips from both EUROPOL and FBI.
France is one of the most affected countries of counterfeit money trafficking. This week in Montpellier, an ex-veteran wanted for robberies in the 90s, alongside two younger drug sellers were arrested with a total of 1 thousand fake tens, twenties, and fifty euro banknotes.