Spanish police take down counterfeit passport ring

An enforcement operation has busted 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.

The operation, which was supported by Europol, culminated in raids on three premises in Barcelona in July, in which almost 2,000 forged documents of 56 different nationalities were discovered, along with mobile devices, around €13,000 (around $15,000) in cash, accounting records and manufacturing equipment.

Various machines for making fake documents were seized, including two printers, one machine for laminating and one scanner, a dedicated laptop, a press machine, tools to cut the documents, UV inks, sprays, plastics with official security measures, kinegrams, chips for ID cards, and needle and thread to sew passport booklets.

The organised operation is thought to have been involved in property crime, facilitation of illegal immigration and document fraud, according to a Europol statement. The documents were used by people from Middle Eastern countries to facilitate their illegal entry into the EU.

The investigation revealed that the main suspect in the case had ordered 1,000 security features for the manufacturing of French ID documents and 10 000 for Spanish ID documents.

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