It was one of the biggest cigarette trafficking rings of recent years. About nine years ago, prosecutors were moving in on suspected smugglers operating in northern Romania.
Traffickers in the Botosani region had been put under surveillance, their telephones tapped.
Lucrative crime rings
On November 27, 2012, crime fighters were ready to go. They had identified five illegal contraband rings. Law enforcement officials planned to carry out 98 house searches in their efforts to disband the lucrative crime rings, Monitorul de Botosani reported on June 1.
However, when the meticulously planned operation failed to yield results, prosecutors began to listen to phone conversations. They wanted to know what had gone wrong.
In one conversation, someone told the crime boss: “The cockerels will be singing at your door tomorrow morning.” The boss responded: “Aha, aha. Thanks a lot. Let them sing.”
They figured out that “the cockerels” was a coded phrase, warning the smugglers about the impending operation.
Smugglers then took steps to erase traces of their illegal activity. In one case, a woman brewed fresh coffee especially for the police, a statement from DIICOT, the agency tasked with investigating and prosecuting organized crime and terrorism-related offenses said.
Police arrived at the house to find that “the lights were on, the woman was already dressed and had an extremely relaxed attitude. She said she knew about the house search and was not bothered as she didn’t have any contraband cigarettes,” the paper said.
She added: “We have made coffee for your arrival.” Predictably, prosecutors left empty-handed.
Prosecutors then turned their attention to their own office. Who was working for the traffickers?
One of the traffickers began cooperation with the officers and told them their source received between 300 and 500 euros for information about the investigation.
The official was identified as Daniel Constantin Bogoș, a registrar. Mr Bogos had access to classified information, information about the cigarette trafficking rings, and confidential information about the investigation.
„Investigations showed links to the underground world, how information was ‚delivered and how cases were compromised.” He resigned.
They found the suspect had been compromised by an extramarital affair. His mistress was unemployed and he found her a job at a bar that was a front for cigarette trafficking.
A trial followed. The defendant was charged with ‘supporting an organized crime group,’ divulging classified information and making false statements.
A court handed a prison sentence of almost three years to the registrar. He was banned from ever occupying a position in a public institution.
He was fined about 1,150 euros.
The ruling isn’t final. He has appealed the sentence. The Suceava Appeal Court will rule on the case.
The defendant is currently working at a law office, the publication said.