INTERPOL-led operation in Americas nets fakes worth 200 million dollars

31 January 2011

LYON, France – Fake goods worth more than USD 200 million have been seized and nearly 1,000 people arrested in a series of operations co-ordinated by INTERPOL across South America targeting organized criminal counterfeiting networks.

Carried out under the auspices of Operation Jupiter in partnership with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the year-long operation throughout 2010 led to a series of interventions across 13 countries in the region and the seizure of nearly eight million counterfeit products including construction materials, sports clothes and shoes, sunglasses, mobile phones, books, car parts, computer software and alcohol.

Goods were recovered from a range of locations including markets, commercial shopping centres and from street vendors, and in a number of cases social networking sites were also identified as distribution channels for counterfeit products.

The fifth such operation co-ordinated by INTERPOL in the region, a key element in the success of Jupiter V was the increased awareness and allocation of resources to tackle the dangers posed by counterfeit and pirated products, including the creation of dedicated Intellectual Property crime units in Chile and Peru.

“The volume and range of goods recovered are clear evidence of the value that Operation Jupiter brings in identifying and dismantling organized crime networks behind these counterfeits and also demonstrates the massive scale of this type of crime not just in South America, but globally,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

“Since launching Operation Jupiter five years ago with just three countries, INTERPOL has remained committed to providing sustained, long-term support to national police and customs in addressing the problem of counterfeits, and the successes which have been achieved provide a model for tackling other types of transnational organized crime across the globe,” added the INTERPOL chief.

“The success of Operation Jupiter in the South American region can be attributed to the dynamic and committed partnership between Customs and the Police which has shown that international co-ordination and co-operation is key to further major achievements in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy as it facilitates our joint efforts to remove fake goods from the marketplace whilst bringing more criminals to justice,” said the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, Kunio Mikuriya.

General Pedro Baillon Farfan, Director of the Policía Fiscal in Peru said: “The efforts deployed by INTERPOL to support South America in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting, has generated an important exchange of experiences and new knowledge that has helped to deeply understand this criminal phenomena and also allowed the design of new strategies and guidelines. The involvement of Peru in Operation Jupiter V has had an important impact, leading public institutions and private sector representatives to focus their efforts on this initiative, strengthen their commitment and work in partnership with us for the deployment of operations on the ground”.

This fifth Operation Jupiter conducted in South America consisted of four operational phases, including the provision of training to more than 150 police and customs officers, prosecutors and intellectual property crime investigation specialists.

Operation Jupiter V involved Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France (French Guyana), Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. Since INTERPOL’s Intellectual Property Rights programme launched the first Operation Jupiter in 2005 with just three countries, nearly half a billion dollars worth of counterfeit goods have been recovered, while also assisting police to identify and dismantle gangs involved in drugs and gun smuggling.