Criminal gang trading fake clothing, luxury goods busted

Police in Spain and Portugal have seized around 60,000 counterfeit designer clothes, accessories and luxury goods worth €16.5m ($20m), making eight arrests with another 33 suspects reported to the authorities.

The operation on July 21 focused on the sale of counterfeit items in the Spanish towns of La Jonquera and Els Límits, close to the French border, which are both notorious locations for trade in illicit goods.

Officers from Spanish Guardia Civil and the Portuguese Guarda Nacional Republicana and Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica – supported by Europol – searched 13 locations during the operation and along with the suspected counterfeit goods also uncovered 212 kg of metal labels of different brands, about € 24,000 in cash, printing plates, electronic equipment and documents.

The investigation was triggered in 2019 by a statement from an association of brand representatives, who reported the sale of counterfeit goods in the Spanish towns.

The Guardia Civil uncovered an organised crime group behind that activity, according to Europol, which said the suspects were importing ready-to-sell counterfeit items made in Portugal.

They were also buying non-branded products to which they were adding different counterfeit labels imported from China. For example, they were embossing metal labels on non-branded belts and bags. All these items were then sold as genuine in different shops in the area.

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