In England and Italy, police authorities secure huge hauls of counterfeits, while customs in Poland and the USA stop illegal imports. Around the world, authorities took action against counterfeit pharmaceuticals in a Europol-led operation.

Manchester: Counterfeit workshop busted during major operation
During a multi-agency raid in Manchester, officials have seized counterfeits estimated to be worth several million pounds. According to the Greater Manchester Police, the authorities were acting on intelligence of illegal immigrants used as modern slaves in counterfeiting workshops. The operation involved more than 90 investigators from several agencies – including Immigration Enforcement and Border Force, the City of Manchester Police, the City of London Police, and the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit. “Although we didn’t find any victims of modern slavery today, we have seized a huge amount of counterfeit goods that have been made illegally,” DI Jamie Pearson concluded.

Italian authorities crack down on toy-counterfeiting ring
With raids at two warehouses in Turin, investigators of the Italian Guardia di Finanza have busted a multi-million euro counterfeiting operation. The officials seized fake toys worth around 4 million euros, including thousands of bracelets and potentially dangerous glitter, according to the Guardia di Finanza. In total, the investigators secured around 2.6 million fakes, which were to be distributed in the northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Piedmont, the report said. Two people were charged – they now face up to two years in prison and more than 100,000 euros worth of fines.

Polish authorities seize counterfeit refrigerants
At the port of Gdynia, located near Gdansk, Polish customs have recently intercepted counterfeit refrigerants carrying the Solistice brand of the US manufacturer Honeywell. Solistice is used in the automotive industry as a cooling agent for air conditioning systems, among others. Only last October, Honeywell had already taken legal action against various alleged sellers of fake Solistice refrigerants in Germany and the Czech Republic. „We have a long history of working closely with global law enforcement agencies to stop the spread of potentially dangerous unlicensed or counterfeit products,“ Richard Winick, Vice President and General Manager of Automotive Refrigerants at Honeywell, commented at the time.

US customs stops million-dollar imports of fake electronics
At International Falls on the US-Canadian border, US customs authorities have seized electrical equipment and accessories worth a total of about one million US dollars (around 900,000 euros) in June and July. According to media reports, officials confiscated fake Apple and Samsung earphones and chargers which were being transported to Minnesota via railway containers; while in another case, suspect gas-price display boards were stopped. Shortly before, customs officials had intercepted another railway container with counterfeit LED television sets. Canada is currently classified as a high-risk country for IP protection in the US.

Europol successfully strikes against fake medicines worldwide
In the so far largest operation of its kind, authorities from 33 countries*, coordinated by Europol, succeeded in striking a blow against global trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals and illegal doping substances. Under the codename Viribus, investigators seized about 3.8 million fake medicines, food supplements, and doping substances; and busted 17 organized crime syndicates, as Europol announced in July. Among others, Interpol, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) supported the operation.

*Countries involved in operation Viribus: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA.
Sources: Greater Manchester Police; Guardia di Finanza; Honeywell, Securing Industry; Duluth News Tribune; Europol