Gang peddling fake documents on dark web busted

French and Spanish police, backed by Europol, have an organised crime group involved in the procurement and distribution of forged ID documents and travel documents in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The suspects disseminated the fake documents to people smugglers operating across the EU, charging €8,000 ($8,865) or more per person for the counterfeit ID and transport.

Along with the IDs they also counterfeited residence permits, driver’s licenses, vehicle registration documents and travel documents, which were also used for other criminal activities including property crimes and drug trafficking, according to a Europol statement.

The operation, supported by the authorities in Georgia, resulted in six properties in France and Spain being searched, 17 arrests, and the seizure of electronic equipment, counterfeit and genuine ID documents and photocopies of ID documents, labour certificates, administrative documents, payment cards and cash.

The members of the criminal network, mainly originating from Eastern European countries, mainly distributed the counterfeit documents on the dark web, but also on instant messaging applications and postal services.

Last year, another Europol-backed operation took down a criminal network in Spain producing and selling thousands of counterfeit passports and ID cards, including items with high-quality security features such as UV holograms.

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