CUSTOMS INTELLIGENCE AND INVESTIGATION

 

The National Customs Agency has powers in the field of prevention, intelligence gathering and investigation of administrative customs violations and crimes, including combating the illicit trafficking in narcotic substances, precursors, defence-related products and dual use goods and technologies.  

The customs officers have the right to perform physical inspections of persons, as well as to control the currency, precious metals, gems and products thereof carried across the state border. Customs sniffer dogs are used in the customs officers' activity. The customs staff works in close cooperation with other law enforcement authorities.

The customs intelligence and investigation activity is organised in five divisions - combating drug trafficking, mobile control, excise control, customs and currency control and administrative penal procedure.

The customs authorities' powers for investigating crimes were reinstated by amendments and supplements of the Customs Act and the Penal Procedure Code, which are in force as of 1 January 2012. For the first time the customs authorities were granted powers to perform administrative detention of persons.

A National Coordination Centre with 24/7 work regime operates as part of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate. The Centre's obligations are related to the application of Community risk analysis for safety and security, receiving and processing signals from citizens and operational exchange of information with the territorial coordination centres and other law enforcement authorities.

The National Customs Agency has 21 mobile teams distributed within the territory of the country and comprising in total 53 customs officers. All teams report to the Central Customs Directorate and take part on a regular basis in joint inspections with other units within the customs administration and with other state institutions (Ministry of Interior, National Revenue Agency, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, State Agency for National Security, etc.).

The National Customs Agency is constantly striving to enhance the technical equipment at the disposal of the officers in the Customs Intelligence and Investigation units throughout the country. In addition to specialised minivans, cars and tools for surveillance and control, modern stationary and mobile X-ray systems were purchased during the recent years.

The Bulgarian Customs Administration is aware of its key role in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy and considers this type of violations not only as infringing the economic interests of a specific group of companies but also with regard to its detrimental effect to the consumers' health and safety and as a tool for financing organised crime internationally. The customs authorities invest considerable effort in combating the violations of intellectual property rights. More than 50 million counterfeit articles have been seized by the customs officers over a period of five years.