Agents of the National Policein a joint operation with Customs Surveillance of the Tax agencyhave intervened more than five tons of counterfeit products of exclusive brands to a distribution network that operated in Canary Islands. This is the largest intervention of counterfeit merchandise of international trademarks recorded to date in Europe, carried out within the framework of an operation that has resulted in 17 arrests, the record of 14 bazaars, four warehouses and three addresses, and the seizure of 70,000 euros in cash and three vehicles. The intervened articles according to the estimation of the specialized experts, could have a value of more than 300 million euros.
The investigations began after becoming aware of the existence of several shops on the island of Tenerifepresumably dedicated to the sale of counterfeit effects, which had a common distributor, located in Fuerteventurawhich formed the leadership of a criminal structure dedicated to the sale and distribution of counterfeit material.
Due to these facts, during the investigation carried out jointly, the EUROPOL National Central Unit was also made a participant in the proceedings.
The police operation. named django, culminated in the dismantling of a criminal organization specializing in the large-scale distribution and marketing of counterfeit products of exclusive brands that operated on the islands of Tenerife and Fuerteventura. The organization acquired the counterfeit material mainly in the Cobo Calleja industrial estate in Madrid, and marketed its products, especially in tourist areas, taking advantage of the presence of a large population with short periods of residence in the country.
The start of the investigation
The operation began in September 2021 by the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit of the Provincial Judicial Police Brigade of the Provincial Police Station of the National Police of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Said unit was aware of the existence of a wholesale point of sale for counterfeit leather goods in the south of Tenerife. Surveillance and follow-up work led to locating the person in charge of this place, observing how he sold these products to various individuals, both for street vending and for sale in bazaars. After that, steps were taken with the parcel companies determining that the shipments came from Fuerteventura, involving several citizens of Chinese origin who would make up the leadership of the organization.
After that, the Customs Surveillance Service joined the operation, determining that there were numerous products in Customs in the name of the person in charge of the Fuerteventura distributor, proceeding to a detailed monitoring of their activity. From Fuerteventura, the leader of the network sent products to other points on the island itself and to Tenerife, where his contact distributed and marketed them on the island through his business.
The investigation was prosecuted in the Court of Instruction number 4 of Arona, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which instructs preliminary proceedings for such purposes.
They acquired the material in Madrid
Investigators have determined the existence of a criminal network that acted as a perfectly structured organization, in which three levels are distinguished: the head of the organization, dedicated to the reception of counterfeit material and its distribution in the archipelago; a second step, with supply and distribution functions; and a third level that acquired counterfeit material from the head of the organization -and in some cases from the second level- to market it directly in their businesses.
The leadership of the organization acquired the falsified material mainly in the Cobo Calleja industrial estate, located in Fuenlabrada (Madrid), and secondarily directly to China. The merchandise was sent to this dome by sea and once it arrived in the Canary Islands, it was delivered through private parcel companies, mainly at its warehouse in Fuerteventura and sometimes even at its own home.
Once the merchandise was accumulated in the warehouse, it was distributed to the different establishments of the archipelago, as well as to other marketers linked to the dome, who, in addition to selling directly to the consumer, also distributed to other businesses.
Large simultaneous device
Given the magnitude of the operation, in mid-June, it became necessary to set up a large device, coordinated by the Provincial Judicial Police Brigade of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and by the Customs Surveillance Operational Unit of the same province. In this device, developed in the islands of Fuerteventura and Tenerife, there was the presence of Nearly one hundred National Police officers from different units within the scope of the Canary Islands National Police Headquarters, as well as Customs Surveillance of the Tax Agency and the support of the canine guides unit of the Local Police of the capital of Tenerife.
In total, simultaneous entries and searches were carried out in three homes, four warehouses and 14 bazaars or establishments on both islands, where more than 70,000 euros in cash and three vehicles were seized, sealing more than five tons of counterfeit products of recognized prestige brands. , among which were bags, assorted leather goods, clothing, sunglasses, watches and various fashion accessories. According to the estimation criteria of specialized experts, the material seized is currently valued at more than 300 million euros.
As a result of these actions, 17 people were arrested for the alleged crimes of belonging to a criminal organization, against industrial property and money laundering. With the organization dismantled, investigations into money laundering continue.
So far, more than 250,000 objects have been intervened in more than 222 million euros, in the absence of the analysis of the material contained in two warehouses whose entry and registration is pending and already authorized by the judge.