Police smash biggest-ever counterfeit goods gang in Canary Islands
Police in the Canaries have seized fraudulent goods worth more than 16 million euros in the biggest ever operation of its kind in the islands.
Some 200,000 counterfeit items were found inside a warehouse/workshop. They included stickers and badges of different brands, blank material and falsified pro-ducts.
The items, such as caps, football shirts, key-rings and bags, would have been sold to tourists in shops and bazaars throughout the Canaries.
A container-truck was also intercepted which contained numerous boxes of electronic material from China. Officers swooped just as it was being unloaded near a shopping centre in the popular holiday resort of Maspalomas in Gran Canaria.
Seven people have been arrested, five of them of Moroccan nationality, one of Indian origin and another from Nepal.
Police say the leaders of the group made two people work long hours every day of the week to falsify the merchandise by stamping them with logos of recognised marks. A printer, dryer, heat press and two gluing plates were also seized.
The operation was the largest of its kind against industrial property in the Canary Islands.
The investigation began in April of this year when police became aware of the existence of a large warehouse in a commercial centre in Maspalomas. This is where the criminal group kept the electronic merchandise that arrived in trucks from the port of Las Palmas.
“Two men of Moroccan nationality, both in an irregular situation in Spain, were found working in the storeroom, falsifying the merchandise,” said a police spokesman. “With hardly any ventilation, and forced to work every day of the week, they spent long hours inside the workshop placing plates of well-known brands in the blank material and printing logos on T-shirts with a heat press.”
In the lorry, police found numerous boxes of electronic material (speakers and headphones among other items) and later uncovered a large number of loudspeakers, headphones, mobile phone cases, handbags, wallets, badges from more than 120 different brands and high-quality stickers. There were numerous parcels of false goods waiting to be delivered to shops in Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria.