Fakes worth millions seized in Interpol-led raids in Americas
By Dialogo April 27, 2012
LYON, France — An Interpol-led sting resulted in the seizure of nearly US$30 million worth of counterfeit goods in 11 countries in North and South America, the Lyon-based organization said on April 26.
About 200 people were arrested in the raids. The goods ranged from toys and cigarettes to engine oil and computer material.
The raids were conducted in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia.
Operation Maya, which ran from March 1 to 15, revealed “increasingly elaborate efforts by criminals to avoid detection,” Interpol said.
Items were “smuggled into a country via one route while counterfeit trademark materials including stickers for computers, batteries, mobile phones and even car emblems, were sent separately to be used later to ‘brand’ the products,” Interpol said.
“Operation Maya again shows that there is no product which is not being counterfeited and criminals are using every means available to traffic fake and illicit goods,” said project manager Roberto Manríquez.
Operation Maya was launched with the support of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
[Interpol.int, 26/04/2012; AFP, 26/04/2012]