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.
Coordinated by INTERPOL and Europol, this global operation seized more than 10,000 tonnes and one million litres of hazardous fake food and drink in operations across 57 countries. Among the seizures were nearly nine tonnes of counterfeit sugar contaminated with fertilizer (Sudan), and 85 tonnes of olives which had been ‘painted’ with copper sulphate solutions to enhance their colour (Italy).
Read more about Operation Opson V (March 2016)
Operation Jupiter VII carried out almost 2,000 raids in 11 countries in South America, leading to the seizure of some 800,000 fake goods worth approximately USD 130 million. Seized goods included clothing, fertilizers, windshields, alcoholic drinks, cigarettes, cosmetics, electric and electronic components, mobile phones, fuel, and construction materials. More than 800 people were either arrested or placed under investigation. Notably, an individual who was the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice was arrested in Colombia.
Read more about Operation Jupiter VII (September 2015)
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.
Read more about Operation Maya II (June 2015)
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.
Read more about Operation Real (September 2014)
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.
Read more about Operation Wipeout (July 2014)
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.
Read more about Operation Al Shaheen (March 2014)