By Sarah Keane • 23 January 2021 • 11:58
Image: Stock Photo, EWN
POLICE dismantle a massive criminal organisation and seize 250,000 bottles of counterfeit rum
The Guardia Civil’s Operation HITSMO has dismantled a massive international criminal gang who specialise in smuggling counterfeit alcohol into Spain. The operation began in Cadiz back in 2019 when officials spotted bottles of fake rum in a wholesalers, and an investigation by the laboratory of the Criminalistics Service of the Guardia Civil found that these same counterfeits were in retail outlets throughout the country.
The operation led to the seizure of more than 225,000 bottles of counterfeit rum, valued at three and a half million euro, and the arrests of 24 people charged with crimes against Industrial Property. The investigation, conducted in conjunction with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), discovered that the booze was produced in the Dominican Republic, bottled in Honduras and then shipped to Spain, complete with fake labels from China.
The counterfeit plonk was then distributed to large wholesalers throughout the country; officials discovered bottles in Cordoba, Badajoz, Valencia, Malaga, Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Narvarra, Bilbao and Huleva. The Guardia Civil from the Office of Analysis and Fiscal Investigation of the Port of Cádiz have since investigated more than 50 Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch companies, and OLAF have discovered shipments of rum in both Honduras and the Netherlands bound for Spain.
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Former teacher and health services manager with a Degree in English, Sarah moved to Spain from Southern Ireland with her husband, who runs his own car rental business, in 2019. She is now enjoying a completely different pace and quality of life on the Costa Blanca South, with wonderful Spanish and expat friends in Cabo Roig. Sarah began working with Euro Weekly News in 2020 and loves nothing more than bringing all the latest national and international news to her local community.
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