site.btaAwards Named after Italian Magistrate Giovanni Falcone Given for 14 Straight Years
Awards commemorating Italian magistrate Giovanni Falcone were given to dozens of police officers and magistrates from Bulgaria and Europe in Blagoevgrad on Thursday for the 14th year in a row. Blagoevgrad's Regional Council on Narcotic Drugs launched the initiative in 2009.
The awards go to judges, prosecutors and investigators who fight drug use and distribution. They were instituted in partnership with the Italian Embassy with support from the magistrate's sister, Prof Maria Falcone, and the Giovanni and Francesca Falcone Foundation. The magistrate's life's motto was "Cowards die every day, the brave only once!"
The premier award - a plaquette and a diploma - in the Magistrates category went to the District Prosecution Office of Targovishte (Northeastern Bulgaria) where a meth lab was broken up.
Two grand international awards and five grand national awards were given in the Police Officers category.
An award went to the Spanish National Police for its numerous operations against drug trafficking and distribution.
Detective David Ivanov from the homicide department of Chicago, IL, also received a plaquette and a diploma for his two-year undercover work.
In some of the biggest operations in 2023, a cannabis factory near Nova Zagora (Central Bulgaria) worth between BGN 1.5 and 2 million was busted in March and marijuana worth BGN 240,000 was seized in the same region in October.
The organizers of the competition aim to support the efforts of magistrates and police officers to protect public interests, counter drug trafficking and curb corruption, the influence of organized crime and crimes against children on the Internet.