Subscribe

Interpol launches anti-piracy operation across the Americas

There is evidence that drug trafficking organizations in countries including Mexico and Colombia have moved into counterfeiting, writes guest blogger Hannah Stone.

• A version of this post ran on the author's site, Insightcrime.com. The views expressed are the author's own.

A massive operation led by police agency Interpol against the trafficking of counterfeited goods across South, Central, and North America indicates the prevalence of this illegal trade across the hemisphere.

The network reportedly operated in 11 countries, from Colombia north to Central America, Mexico, the US, and Canada.

Operation Maya involved more than 1,000 separate police actions between March 1 and 15, according to Interpol, and is ongoing. Some 200 people have been arrested and $30 million of products seized, including toys, beauty products, tobacco, and computer programs.

Interpol project manager Roberto Manriquez said that, "Operation Maya again shows that there is no product which is not being counterfeited and criminals are using every means available to traffic fake and illicit goods."

The press release said that the operation had also identified routes that organized criminal groups used to traffic archaeological items, wildlife, and images depicting child pornography.

InSight Crime Analysis

The size of Interpol's operation is an indication of the significance of the counterfeit goods market in the Americas. Global Financial Integrity's report "Transnational Crime in the Developing World" estimated the global market in counterfeited goods to be worth some $90 billion a year, making it the third most profitable illicit market, behind drug trafficking and money laundering.

Interpol noted the sophistication of the counterfeiters' operations, saying that they would smuggle pirated goods into a country through one route, while branding items like logos, labels, and stickers would be sent separately.

There is evidence that drug trafficking organizations in countries including Mexico and Colombia have moved into counterfeiting. Mexico's Familia Michoacana were thought to be involved in software piracy, while Colombia's neo-paramilitaries may be involved in the fake liquor trade.

– Hannah Stone is a writer for Insight – Organized Crime in the Americas, which provides research, analysis, and investigation of the criminal world throughout the region. Find all of her research here.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Latin America bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

Share this story:
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK