A Chinese national arrested in a glass eels trafficking crackdown

A Chinese national arrested in a glass eels trafficking crackdown in an exceptional France-Senegal collaboration. A French delegation led by an investigating judge arrived Senegal to investigate the African side of an international trafficking ring in the protected European glass eels. The ring that was first busted in Paris was about to export 300kg of eels to Senegal. Senegal is a transit country from Europe to Asia.

This coincided with a two-year EAGLE investigation of this important trafficking that found connections to the same French trafficking ring. The EAGLE Senegal Team exposed a vast glass eels criminal operation stretching over several warehouses, locating numerous members of the ring. 

Working with the police Department of Criminal Investigations, several ring members were arrested, including a Chinese national, against whom an international arrest warrant was issued, and is expected to be extradited to France. Several searches were carried out, allowing valuable evidence to be collected and a large quantity of equipment used by the trafficking network to be seized (air conditioners, water purifiers, water oxygenation devices, basins, freezers, and more).

The trafficking of glass eels is one of the most substantial and lucrative illegal trades of protected species across the globe, led by organized criminal networks. The glass eels are poached in the mouth of European rivers and then illegally trafficked to Asia, to be used as a delicacy, or to enter fish farms to be raised and sold later. Eels are critically endangered and listed in the Appendix II of CITES, as their numbers in nature keep plummeting.

Eels’ populations have been trafficked to the verge of extinction, and the European Union therefore placed a ban on import and export of eels in 2010.