INTERPOL-led operations in Africa result in seizures of fakes worth 1.5 million dollars

20 April 2011

LYON, France – Operations carried out in Togo and Ghana co-ordinated by INTERPOL have resulted in the seizure of pirated and counterfeit goods worth USD 1.5 million.

Products including soup cubes, computer supplies, African fabrics, plastic packaging used for food and water, cigarettes and CDs were recovered by around 100 police, customs and Intellectual Property crime specialists during Operation Atlantic which also saw 16 arrests.

In addition to conducting raids on wholesalers and markets in the city centres of Lomé, Togo and Accra, Ghana, officers also carried out checks and seizures at the seaport of Tema in Ghana, one of the key entry points for merchandise in Western Africa.

“These operations enabled the law enforcement agencies in Ghana and Togo to focus on products and commodities specific to the region, such as wax textiles and packaging for food and drinks, products which consumers would assume to be genuine,” said Operation Atlantic co-ordinator Roberto Manriquez, a criminal intelligence officer from INTERPOL’s Intellectual Property crime unit at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon.

“Operation Atlantic again shows that there is nothing which cannot be counterfeited and that the criminals behind this illegal trade will try to profit in any way from activities which endanger the health and safety of consumers.”

The operations, which were conducted between 28 March and 8 April, followed a series of INTERPOL training programmes to update national police on successful investigation techniques as well as tackling wider consumer health and safety issues arising from dangerous counterfeit goods.

Operation Atlantic is the latest in a series of anti-counterfeiting operations co-ordinated by INTERPOL, including Operation Jupiter in the Americas region which in 2010 saw interventions across 13 countries result in the seizure of fakes worth USD 200 million and more than 1,000 people arrested.