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Fake goods worth US$60m seized in operations across Caribbean

Published:Sunday | June 14, 2015 | 10:45 AM

LYON, France,CMC – The international police organization (INTERPOL) says car parts, fuel, food, detergent, cigars, shampoo and steel were among fake goods worth nearly US$60 million seized in a two-week operation across the Americas and the Caribbean.

Code-named Maya II, INTERPOL said more than 2,000 interventions by police, customs, investigators and Intellectual Property (IP) units were carried out at key locations including markets, border control points and shops across 19 countries and territories.

INTERPOL said the operation was coordinated by its Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting unit.

Investigations carried out by national authorities led to the identification and dismantling of several organized crime networks, as well as entire businesses selling counterfeit goods, INTERPOL said.

In the Dominican Republic, where deforestation is an increasing problem, INTERPOL said authorities seized more than 100 bags of charcoal at the Haitian border, in addition to identifying and closing down two illegal factories manufacturing laundry detergent.

A shopping centre in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic capital, was also found selling fake goods along with genuine brands after their supply chain had been infiltrated by organized crime networks.

A bootleg distillery was also shut down, and tests on the illegal alcohol seized during the raids showed it to contain potentially lethal additives.

“The Dominican Republic’s involvement in Operation Maya II through NCB Santo Domingo underlines our commitment to combat all forms of transnational crime, to protect citizens and society for a safer world,” said Major General Manuel Elpidio Castro Castillo, head of the Dominican Republic National Police.

In Cuba, the police, in their first operation targeting counterfeit goods, seized hundreds of fake boxes ready to be filled with fake brand-name cigars.

It said other examples of seizures include counterfeit rifle scopes in Canada; fake electrical goods in Trinidad and Tobago; video game controllers in Mexico; and jeans and T-shirts in Curaçao.

“The success of this operation is a result of the dedication and commitment of the involved countries, particularly those who took part in these specifically targeted actions for the first time,” said Michael Ellis, head of INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting unit.

“The results show the extent of the challenge faced by every country in combating the spread of fake and illicit goods, and INTERPOL will continue to support their efforts in dismantling these networks and bringing those involved to justice,” Ellis added.

INTERPOL said the operation was supported by the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC).

It said countries and territories which took part in Operation Maya II included Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Canada; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominican Republic; El Salvador; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; St. Lucia; Trinidad and Tobago; United States and Venezuela.