By Gangsters Inc. Editors
Spanish police with support from Europol dismantled an organized crime group involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit euro banknotes. The police intervention also involved the Bank of Spain's Investigation Brigade and canine units, which were deployed to detect counterfeit banknotes. The bust occurred on September 21, but was reported by Europol today.
Nine locations in Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga and Valencia were searched, 12 people were arrested, and one clandestine print shop dismantled. €4.3 million in high-quality fake 500 euro banknotes and a large amount of equipment (several printing presses, an insulation machine, a hot stamping machine, a paper guillotine and raw materials) were seized.
The counterfeiters were using top-end technology to produce counterfeit euro bills, in what are considered by Europol to be “some of the most sophisticated fakes ever detected in the EU”. The advanced technological design and the good condition of the forgeries make these the most dangerous counterfeits produced in the EU in recent years.
Investigators from the Bank of Spain's Investigation Brigade identified the main suspect behind the print shop as an individual already known by authorities detained for similar criminal activities in 2009. Although these counterfeit bills were of higher quality, they had similar features to counterfeits produced in 2009. This is what led authorities to link the counterfeits to the same suspect.
In 2021, the Police of Catalonia found a bag with about €4 million in fake 500 euro bills. The Analysis Centre of the Bank of Spain confirmed that the fakes were the same as the ones from the most recent batch of counterfeits.
Over €8 million in counterfeit bills printed in 3 months
The investigators estimate that in as little as three months’ time, the criminal network printed more than €8 million in this clandestine print shop, which was dismantled in September. The members of the criminal network had different functions, from supplying raw materials, mainly from China, to managing the printing equipment. The fake money was used for different criminal activities including drug trafficking.
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