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French president calls for migrant smuggling crackdown

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Two men jailed over conspiracy to smuggle pig semen hidden in shampoo bottles into Australia

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conspiracy to smuggle pig semen

A court in Australia has jailed two men for illegally importing pig semen from Denmark in shampoo bottles.

Torben Soerensen, Director of pig farm GD Pork, and the company’s Breeding Manager Henning Laue were jailed for a minimum of 18 months and eight months respectively at Perth District Court yesterday over their involvement in the importation of a biosecurity hazard.

GD Pork, which is now in liquidation, was handed a fine of A$500,000 ($338,284).

Prosecutors told the court that the pair had illegally imported the pig semen from the Scandinavian country on numerous occasions between 2009 and 2017 for use in GD Pork’s artificial breeding programme.

Investigators discovered that several of the firm’s breeding sows were direct offspring of Danish boars.

The court was told the ringleaders of the plot were investors in GD Pork’s Danish parent company, who Judge Troy Sweeney said would have faced far stiffer penalties than Soerensen and Henning had they not been beyond the reach of Australian law.

Soerensen, Henning and their co-conspirators plotted to import the semen into Australia on account of the fact that Danish pigs typically produce seven more piglets per year than the indigenous species.

The Australian government upholds strict biosecurity rules, which dictate that the country’s pig stocks must be “closed genetic herds” in order to prevent the spread of disease.

The rules are intended to prevent the importation of so-called “pig plague” into the country, which originated in the US before spreading across Western Europe and can cause infertility, stillborn piglets and pneumonia.

Australian Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said the Australian Government takes any breach of biosecurity legislation seriously, adding: “This case shows a disturbing disregard for the laws that protect the livelihoods of Australia’s 2,700 pork producers, and the quality of the pork that millions of Australians enjoy each year.

“The penalties handed down at the District Court of Western Australia today send a clear message that breaches of Australia’s biosecurity rules will not be tolerated…

“GD Pork imported the semen illegally in an attempt to get an unfair advantage over its competitors, through new genetics.

“These actions could have also exposed Australia’s agricultural industries, environment and the community to serious biosecurity risk.”

A spokesperson from the Western Australian Farmers Federation said the semen smuggling plot was “extremely disappointing” and “a selfish act” that could have seriously damaged the Australian pig farming industry.

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Spanish investigators arrest 24 people on suspicion of sharing indecent images of children on social media

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Spanish investigators arrest 24 people on suspicion of sharing indecent images

Police in Spain have arrested 24 people on suspicion of sharing indecent images of children on an unnamed social media platform.

Among those detained were a mother and son, the latter of whom helped the former post child abuse content she had created.

Four of the suspects were minors at the time they were arrested, with the youngest aged just 14.

One of the suspects held during the operation was arrested a second time after creating new social media profiles from which he shared indecent images of children following his release while under investigation, Spanish police said in a statement.

The arrests were made across the country in locations including Alicante, Asturias, Barcelona, Badajoz, Cantabria, Castellón Córdoba, Granada, Madrid, Malaga, Navarra, Salamanca and Lleida.

Investigators said they worked closely with the social media platform in question, which police have not named, to identify the individuals who were responsible for the distribution of the indecent images.

Over the course of their investigation, police seized a large quantity of evidence, including electronic devices that had been used to store child abuse images and videos.

A 28-year-old man arrested as part of the probe in Alicante is said to have edited indecent images in his possession by replacing the faces of those depicted with pictures of his own relatives, some of whom were children.

In Asturias, four people were detained, including a 39-year-old Colombian woman who had shared child abuse material with the help of her 19-year-old son.

Elsewhere, a 47-year-old man was arrested in Barcelona for sharing indecent images of children on social media and via instant messaging apps.

Police in Barcelona detained a 61-year-old Mexican citizen who encouraged fellow paedophiles from all over the world to share indecent images with him while posing as a young girl.

In a statement, Spain’s national police force said: “During the operation, a large number of indecent images and videos were found on seven tablets, six external and 13 internal hard drives, 33 mobile phones, 12 USB memory sticks, 11 memory cards and 14 laptops.”

Back in May, Spanish police launched a campaign intended to crack down on the distribution of self-generated indecent images.

Investigators said they were focusing on images featuring minors aged between two and 13, adding that the older of these children were publishing this type of material online in order to increase their social media audience.

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Israeli fugitive on Interpol Red Notice captured in Mexico after 18 years on the run

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Israeli fugitive on Interpol Red Notice

Global law enforcement agency Interpol has revealed that one of the most wanted men in Israel’s recent history has been detained in Mexico after spending 18 years on the run.

Erez Akrishevski, who was jailed after being convicted of attempted murder and forgery back in 1998, escaped from custody while on 48-hour leave from prison in 2001.

After fleeing from jail, Akrishevski promptly left Israel, a move that led to the country’s national police force publishing an Interpol Red Notice, otherwise known as an internationally-wanted persons alert.

Akrishevski, 57, was apprehended in Argentina in 2004, but managed to flee again after being freed on bail.

Living as a fugitive, he is then said to have spent almost 15 years on the run from police while travelling throughout central and Southern America.

While on the run, it is understood that Akrishevski was involved in numerous illicit activities, having maintained links with figures from organised crime networks based in his country of origin.

He has now been deported back to Israel to serve the remainder of his jail term.

In a statement, Interpol said: “In February, international coordination was enhanced when Interpol’s Fugitive Investigative Support unit focused on the Red Notice.

“The unit facilitated communication between Israeli, Mexican and US authorities, including a high-level meeting between the National Central Bureaus for Israel and Mexico.

“This coordination work enabled the US Marshals Service for International Investigations to identify crime patterns, known contacts and the fugitive’s location.

“Akrishevski was ultimately arrested in Mexico, by special authorities.”

Separately, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has appealed to British holidaymakers to help them find 11 fugitives as part of Operation Captura, a campaign that has seen 84 offenders apprehended across Europe.

Those targeted by the operation who are still on the run include a woman from York who is wanted by British tax authorities over allegations that she helped launder some £1 billion ($1.21 billion) for an organised crime gang involved in VAT fraud.

Sarah Panitzke, 45, who is said to speak with a broad Yorkshire accent, remains at large after 18 members of the gang to which she was linked were handed jail sentences that totalled 135 years.

The NCA has also appealed for information that might lead to the arrest of 63-year-old John Barton from Nottingham, who was convicted in his absence in 2003 and jailed for 20 years for conspiring to import a commercial quantity of heroin.

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