Illicit goods are often poor quality and therefore pose a risk to public health. At the same time, a clear link can be drawn between trafficking in illicit goods and other forms of transnational organized crime. Enforcement operations in the field are vital in order to remove illicit products from circulation and to dismantle the illegal networks behind these crimes.
Representatives from a variety of agencies and sectors – police and customs officers, prosecutors, investigative experts – attend training courses and workshops in advance of the operational activity. These hands-on workshops equip participants with the knowledge they need for the raids and follow-up investigations, in particular, enabling them to better distinguish fake products from genuine ones.
Operations coordinated by INTERPOL target a wide range of goods, including food, drink, fuel,vehicle parts, pesticides, toys, cosmetics and electrical products. Activities are carried out in all regions of the world.
Some of our operational highlights are summarized below.
Carried out across the Americas and the Caribbean, this operation seized car parts, fuel, food, detergent, cigars, shampoo and steel, among other fake products. Operation Maya II saw more than 2,000 interventions by police, customs, investigators and Intellectual Property units at markets, border control points and shops across 19 countries and territories. In total, the seized goods were worth nearly USD 60 million.
Coordinated by INTERPOL and Europol, this global operation took more than 2,500 tonnes of counterfeit and illicit food out of circulation. Potentially hazardous to public health and safety, the seized goods included mozzarella, strawberries, eggs, cooking oil and dried fruit. Operation Opson IV was conducted in 47 countries around the world.
Operation Al Shaheen was the first INTERPOL-coordinated operation to combat trafficking in illicit goods and counterfeiting held in the Middle East. The operation carried out more than 600 raids across Qatar at shops, markets and retail outlets. It confiscated some 140,000 illicit products and placed 147 individuals under investigation.
Illicit goods worth nearly USD 50 million were seized under Operation Real. Conducted by police and customs agencies across 10 countries in Asia, the operation seized nearly 1 million fake or illicit items including alcohol, cigarettes, cosmetics, clothing and electrical goods. More than 660 individuals were arrested or placed under investigation.
Baby food, cosmetics, televisions, mobile phones and toys were among goods worth USD 5.6 million seized during Operation Wipeout. Conducted across seven countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, the operation resulted in some 644,000 goods seized and more than 260 individuals arrested or placed under investigation.