The border police of Iasi liquidated the criminal gang under the code name «Rose Group». The gang, which included citizens of the Republic of Moldova and Romania, specialized in cigarette smuggling.
The smuggling network was headed by Moldovan citizens, who collaborated with those in Romania.
The scheme included 5 different levels, a particular group of people being in charge for each of them.
According to the press release of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism, the leader of the criminal group was a citizen of Moldova. He provided cigarettes from Moldova, organized each criminal act and maintained relationships with the beneficiaries of cigarette smuggling in Romania. Additionally, the man negotiated quantities of cigarettes to be delivered and the amounts of money the beneficiaries were to pay.
The trusted person of the gang leader, also a Moldovan citizen, was frequently traveling to Romania to support other network members and to ensure a "safe" transportation of cigarettes to beneficiaries. He kept under observation the travel itineraries of the buses, loaded with cigarettes and travelled ahead of them to observe and signal the potential danger from police patrols, which could jeopardize the operations.
The next level of the scheme concerned the beneficiaries of the cigarettes, who received the smuggled amounts of cigarettes and later distributed them on the black market in Iasi, aiming at illegal financial benefits.
The scheme also involved Romanian citizens, residing in the border area between Romania and Moldova. They were in charge of receiving packages of cigarettes and handing them to others, who transported them to the beneficiaries.
The group leader recruited people, who were transporting cigarettes from the border area, or surveilled the travel itineraries in exchange for money.
The last level of the scheme included persons, recruited by the group members, specifically, the defendants Valeriu Ivanov and Iosup George Ionut , engaged at Sculeni border point, who in exchange for money or goods, facilitated the passage of some members of the organized criminal group through the customs.
According to the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism, the perpetrators preferred to work with Romanian citizens, residing near the river Prut, as this enabled them to monitor the smuggling process, to observe the presence of the Border Police and prevent possible detection of smuggling. Citizens residing in the border area were also involved in temporary storage of cigarette. Mainly young jobless people were recruited for these purposes.
Prosecutors said that members of “Rose Group” were very cautious in carrying out smuggling activities. Contacts with the members of the network, who supplied them with the quantities of cigarettes, as well as coordination of the group members were exercised only through direct meetings, or using a code, or evasive language, when contacting each other by means of distance communication networks.
A total of 20 searches were carried out in the homes of group members and in several locations, along the border area of the county of Iasi. Following the searches, the officers discovered and seized various amounts of money; 56 880 cigarettes, totaling 25 900 lei; 39 SIM cards; one pair of binoculars; one diving suit; 3 necklaces of yellow metal, 1 tablet, 1 laptop, 1 memory stick; 185 containers of various sorts of alcohol (whiskey, vodka, cognac, wine), amounting to 131.2 liters of duty-free provenance and with Moldovan excise-duty, totaling 7.144 lei; various documents, useful for the investigation of the case and 8 vehicles worth 162.811 lei.
The officials determined that only in the period of May - October 2016, the group members smuggled an amount of 928 920 cigarettes, amounting to 423.133 lei. Of this amount, 653 260 cigarettes worth over 297 567 lei were seized."
Following the searches, 7 members of the criminal group were applied the measure of detention for a period of 24 hours, so that later today the prosecutors present to the court the proposal of preventive arrest for 30 days. The measure of judicial control for a period of 60 days was applied with respect to the other two members. Additionally, the criminal proceedings against 34 defendants was set in motion on November 22.