Practice: Operation Silver Axe III
On 11 July 2018, OLAF reported on a major victory in EU law enforcement cooperation: dismantling the smuggling of illegal and counterfeit pesticides in the EU.
The so-called operation Silver Axe III involved a number of police and customs authorities from 22 EU countries and five non-EU countries (Australia, Moldova, Serbia, Switzerland, and Ukraine.) as well as private and public plant protection bodies. The operation was considerably supported by OLAF and Europol.
OLAF provided Europol and the participating countries with information on over 180 suspicious shipments of pesticides from third countries (mainly China) to the EU. The goods that were actually destined for the EU market were either declared as being in transit in the EU or as destined for export from the EU to a third country. As a result of the operation, 360 tons of smuggled pesticides were seized – an amount large enough to spray almost the entire United Kingdom.