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incident idcountrysuspect-namedate-of-arrestplace-of-arrest-or-seizureitems-seizednumber-seizedroutecourt-appearanceschargessentence
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1GermanyNot available20-12-2018Frankfurt AirportGlass eels100000Germany - Russia - VietnamA 59-year-old Malaysian man was transporting approximately 100,000 endangered glass eels in 3 suitcases, and had intended to fly via Frankfurt and Moscow to Vietnam. He was ordered to pay a €2000 fine and was allegedly allowed to continue travelling, after the eels had been confiscated. Paid €2000 fine, no further charges.
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2GermanyNot available12-4-2018Heidesheim am RheinGlass eels5000Not availableA 47-year-old Malaysian woman tried to smuggle approximately 5000 glass eels in plastic bags filled with water (embedded in styrofoam boxes), at Heidsheim. Not availble
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3SpainNot available4-6-2018SpainGlass eelsn/aNot availableThree Moroccans were arrested in Spain for belonging to a criminal network that smuggles glass eels to Asia. Four Chinese citizens and three Spaniards were also arrested as part of the same operation. The Spanish Guard seized 460kh of glass eels in southern Spain. Not availble
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4SpainNot availablen/aSpainGlass eelsn/aNot availableTen members of an organised crime group involved in illegally exporting glass eels to Asia were arrested. The ring was based in Spain, but also operated out of Portugal and Morocco. Police found 364 travel bags that were being prepared to be sent to China with more than five tons of eels inside. The bags were seized along with EUR 40 000 in cash. Ten suspects were arrested – Spanish, Chinese and Moroccan nationals. The 350kg of live glass eels were seized and will be returned to their natural habitatNot availble
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5PolandNot availablen/aPolandEeln/aNot availableNo further details provided. n/a
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6BulgariaNot available1-1-2015Sofia International AirportGlass eels2000000Not availableTwo Chinese traffickers were arrested after 2-million post-larval glass eels - which they declared as a "food product" and transported in eight polystyrene boxes - were seized at Sofia Airport. The eels were taken to the Varna Black Sea Aquarium. Not availble
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7ItalyNot available1-2-2015LombardyEuropean eels2Not availableTwo European eels, declared as carps to customs, were seized in Como, Lombardy. Their import is prohibited within the European Union.n/a
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8NetherlandsNot available17-4-2017Schiphol AirportEuropean glass eels72kgNetherlands - ChinaA Chinese couple was intercepted with 6 suitcases containing 72 kg of live European glass eels as they were about to board a flight to China. The fish were packaged in 36 plastic bags filled with water. According to the Dutch food and consumer product safety authority, this batch of glass eels could have been sold in China for about €115,000 i.e. nearly €1,600 per kilo.Not availble
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9ItalyNot available28-12-2015BariEuropean eels100kgNot available100kg of European eels were seized from fish markets in Bari, Puglia Region. The eels were poached from Lake Lesina, the ninth biggest lake in Italy, a haven for these eels. n/a
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10ItalyNot available28-12-2015CasertaEels5 tonnesNo routeFive tonnes of eels (Appendix II) were seized and three arrests were made at a warehouse in Caserta. The conditions at the warehouse were called into question and an investigation found that oxygenation and recycling water were failing. The eels were sent to a pool of "stabilization" while a decision was being made. n/a
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11MacedoniaNot available11-4-2019SkopjeEuropean eel60kgNot availablePolice in North Macedonia arrested five men, including two Chinese citizens and a customs official, on suspicion of smuggling a critically endangered species of eel. Four of the suspects allegedly purchased 60kg of juvenile European eels, with estimated value of €120,000, in Bulgaria for a buyer in Malaysia. Authorities discovered the live cargo hidden in a car in which the four were travelling during a routine highway control. Police say the eels were to be flown from Skopje’s international airport to Kuala Lumpur. The customs official is accused of granting the four a free pass from Bulgaria into North Macedonia.n/a
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12GermanyNot available11-28-2018Frankfurt AirportGlass eelUnknownFrance - VietnamSeveral thousand glass eels were seized from the luggage of a woman with a Malaysian passport travelling to Vietnam. The eels are suspected to originate from France, Portugal or Spain. The smuggler was not immediately investigated because she was already on the plane when the contraband was discovered. The eels were dumped into the Rhine, which flows into the North Sea. n/a
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13FranceNot available01-31-2019Pyrenees-AtlantiqueGlass eel3000000No route879kg of glass eels were seized from a highway parking. This seizure, estimated at nearly 500, 000EUR, represents nearly 3-million glass eels. It alone is equivalent to the four seizures made in Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in 2018. A further 18, 000EUR was seized. n/a
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14FranceNot available8-2-2019NantesEuropean eelUnknownFrance - SpainThe joint investigation by the Nantes Research Brigade, Central Office for Combatting Environmental and Public Health Damage, the National Office for Water and Aquatic Environments, the Regional Intervention Group and Maritime Affairs resulted in the dismantling of a hang of European eel traffickers from the Loire estuary to the Spanish Baque country. The trial of the 9 accused for trafficking in protected species in organized gangs, concealed work, money laundering, concealment, breach of trust and abuse of corporate assets was held in December 2018 and resulted in sentencing the culprits to 1 to 2 years in jail, on February 2019. They were also fined 5, 000EUR to 30, 000EUR and a ban on professional fishing and European eels trading for 5 years. Among them were professional fishermen and fishmonger, a father, his sons and repeat offenders. They were also ordered to pay sea and river fishing organizations and environmental NGOs 230, 000EUR for ecological and moral damage. Nearly 700, 000EUR of criminal assets were also seized. All convicts have appealed. 1 to 2 years in jail, fined 5, 000EUR to 30, 000EUR
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15SwitzerlandNot available19-1-2019Geneva AirportGlass eel240000Not availableA network of individuals trafficking glass eels to the Asian market (where they are worth several thousands of US dollars per kilo) was dismantled after 110, 000 eels were seized at Zurich Airport on January 11 2019, and two people were arrested. A week later, on January 19, 130, 000 eels were seized and seven Asian citizens arrested at Geneva Airport. The glass eels were in plastic bags filled with water, inflated with oxygen and kept cold with bottles full of ice. They were all released into Lake Murten by customs. n/a
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16SpainNot available6-11-2019SpainEuropean eel737kgSpanish police made 16 arrests and dismantled four criminal groups at the centre of a 6,000,000EUR a year eel smuggling ring. Nearly six tonnes of glass eels were seized and returned to the wild in an operation Europol said was critical for the survival of the species in Europe. Most of the illegally caught eels were destined for Asia. Operation Fame was 2019's flagship environmental operation and culminated in the arrest of 43 individuals, alongside the seizure of 737kg of glass eels. The fish were put in plastic bags and suitcases, and sent to Asia by plane. While the operation was continent-wide, Spanish criminal organisations appeared to be at the centre. n/a
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17FranceNot available6-11-2019FranceEuropean eel716kgThis year’s Operation Lake, initiated by Europol and together with Eurojust, INTERPOL and the EU Wildlife / CITES Enforcement Group saw the involvement of 10 countries in the 448 operations across Europe: Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechia, France, Germany, North Macedonia, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. From October 2018 until April 2019 and under the umbrella of the European Union Action Plan against wildlife trafficking, a wide range of activities have been carried out in order uncover every possible illicit practice linked to the fishing of glass eels, such as checking luggage and cargo at ports and airports with international destinations. Law enforcement also conducted cross-border investigations into European-based Asian criminal networks. Operation Lake aims to combat trafficking of endangered species in the EU and to dismantle violent organised crime groups involved in associated illegal activities, such as environmental crime, smuggling, money laundering, tax evasion and document counterfeiting. n/a
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18NetherlandsNot available1-4-2017NetherlandsGlass eel72kgA 72kg shipment of live glass eels was found in personal baggage at an airport in transit from Portugal to China. No further details provided.n/a
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19UKNot available3-1-2017UKGlass eel200kg200kg of live glass eels, originating from Spain and were seized in the UK, in transit to Hong Kong SAR by air. No further details provided. n/a
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20FranceNot available01/16/2017FranceGlass eel792kgNearly 800kg of live glass eels were seized on a road, on the way to Roissy Airport, destined for Thailand. No further details provided. n/a
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21FranceNot available3-2-2017FranceGlass eel200kgOver 200kg of live glass eels were seized on a road, on the way to Roissy Airport, destined for Thailand. No further details provided. n/a
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22FranceNot available6-3-2017FranceGlass eel200kgOver 200kg of live glass eels were seized on a road, on the way to Spain, via France. No further details provided. n/a
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23SpainNot available3-1-2017SpainGlass eel2000kgAn international criminal network was dismantled in a joint operation by Greek and Spanish authorities, and supported by Europol and Eurojust. Seventeen individuals were arrested and 2000kg of live glass eels - destined for China - were seized, along with data storage devices, luxury cars, gold bars and 1,000,000EUR in cash. No further details provided. n/a
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24ItalyNot available12-1-2016ItalyGlass eel35kgApproximately 35kg of live glass eels were seized at Rome Airport, from Egypt, without any CITES documentation. No further details provided. n/a
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25SpainNot available2-1-2016SpainGlass eel36kgA shipment of 36kg of live glass eels were found in personal baggage at an airport in Spain. The eels were destined for China, via France. No further details provided. n/a
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26SpainNot available2-3-2016SpainGlass eel86kgA combined 86kg of live glass eels were seized from personal baggage at an airport in Spain. The eels were destined for China, via the Netherlands. No further details provided. n/a
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27SpainNot available1-3-2016SpainGlass eel111kgA combined 111kg of live glass eels were seized from personal baggage at an airpot in Spain, destined for Hong Kong. No further details provided. n/a
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28FranceNot available1-1-2016FranceGlass eel42kgApproximately 42kg of live glass eels were seized from a passenger's luggage at an airport in France, originating from Spain and were destined for China. No further details provided. n/a
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29FranceNot available1-1-2016FranceGlass eel25kgApproximately 25kg of live glass eels were found inside a vehicle in France, on the way to Spain. No further details provided. n/a
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30FranceNot available1-1-2016FranceGlass eel163kgAppoximetaly 163kg of live glass eels were found inside a vehicle on a road in France, during a random control search. No further details provided. n/a
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31FranceNot available1-1-2016FranceGlass eel2kgAppoximetaly 2kg of live glass eels were found inside a vehicle on a road in France, during a random control search. No further details provided. n/a
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32UKGilbert Khoo7-2-2020UKGlass eel200kgUK - ChinaSouthwark crown courtA seafood salesman, 66-year-old Gilbert Khoo of Chessington in Surrey has been found guilty of smuggling more than £53m worth of endangered live eels out of the UK. He transported the rare elvers from London to Hong Kong hidden underneath other fish between 2015 and 2017. He was caught after Border Force officers found 200kg of the European “glass eels” at Heathrow airport in the first seizure of its kind in the UK. Khoo was found guilty of three counts of failure to notify movement of animals and three counts of evasion of a prohibition or restriction on the export of goods. He will be sentenced on 6 March.two-year suspended jail sentence
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