A reader recently posted some questions about INTERPOL’s use of Blue Notices.  I omitted some of the reader’s comments and questions because of the identifiying information contained therein, but the reader’s basic questions present an opportunity to discuss whether one should be concerned about being the subject of a Blue Notice.  The short answer is, yes. 

Anytime INTERPOL is interested in you, there is sufficient cause for concern.  Note that I say concern, not panic. The subject of a Blue Notice may or may not be a suspect in a crime.  A Blue Notice is issued when INTERPOL grants a member country’s request for assistance with the following:

  • seeking the location of someone connected with a criminal investigation
  • identifying someone connected with a criminal investigation
  • finding witnesses to a criminal act, and
  • locating friends, relatives, or associates of offenders or suspected offenders

The difference between a Red Notice, our usual topic, and a Blue Notice, is that a Blue Notice can be issued prior to criminal charges being filed.  Red notices are concened with persons who have been charged with or convicted of crimes.  (Whether a Blue Notice can “turn into” a Red Notice will be addressed in the next post.)

If a person of interest has a known identity, INTERPOL can issue the Blue Notice in the person’s name, just as it did in the case of Frenchman Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes, who is being sought in connection with the investigation of his family’s death in April of this year. 

On the other hand, there are times when an offender is wanted, but his identity is unknown.  One such instance was in 2007, when INTERPOL launched an effort termed, Operation Vico, where it circulated a photograph of a man who was wanted for the sexual abuse of children based on widely circulated images on the internet.  Although the man’s identity was unknown, his face was known, and INTERPOL’s efforts led to his arrest 11 days later.  He was later sentenced after entering a guilty plea.   

Next:  Can a Blue Notice “Turn Into” a Red Notice?

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.