Spanish Police Arrest Gang Selling Counterfeit Products

Fake Imports Seized By National Police

Counterfeit goods seized. Credit: Policia Nacional -

Spanish National Police have dismantled a criminal organisation involved in importing and selling counterfeit goods and seized almost 250,000 items.

According to a report published Wednesday, July 26, by Policia Nacional, officers have arrested a total of 39 people throughout Spain, including three in Malaga.

Police carried out 13 house searches and 22 inspections in warehouses and establishments open to the public in different areas of Spain. The highly-organised group was constantly modifying its methods of importing and distributing the goods, in order to avoid detection.

Well-Established Counterfeit Operation

The criminal organisation, made up of Senegalese nationals, was established in Spain and specialised in the import and sale of counterfeit products, they disguised the origin of the products in order to integrate them into the legal economic and financial system.

The counterfeiting was sometimes done by creating or importing the product itself, which included clothing, footwear, jewellery or leather goods. On other occasions, they inserted the names of well-known manufacturers, thus infringing the industrial property rights of the registered brands.

As the investigation progressed, officers discovered that the group had been operating since at least 2016. At the helm was a woman who exercised leadership and management duties. She travelled, together with others, continuously and repeatedly to the supplier countries to import the counterfeit goods and, was also the one who reaped most of the financial benefits.

Other members of the gang were responsible for the distribution of the counterfeit goods throughout Spain, using logistics points or parcel delivery companies. The final link in the chain were the base sellers.

Most of them were African citizens with limited economic resources and were dedicated to the direct marketing of the products. These people were also responsible for collecting part of the profits which were passed onto the higher levels of the organisation.

The profits were paid via bank transfer or paid directly into the accounts of the gang’s leaders. Another method used was by means of parcel or postal mail (weighing less than one kilogramme) to the homes of the heads of the criminal network.

In order to avoid detection, the organisation changed its methods regularly. They changed the routes of entry for the counterfeit goods. Previously goods entered the European Union via the United Kingdom, more recently the route followed was China-Germany-Spain. The organisation’s ingenious methods made the police investigation much more difficult, indicating the sophistication of the criminal network.

Counterfeit Gang Arrested

Investigators focused on those members who occupied the upper and intermediate levels of the organisation. Officers detected that the economic capacity of the individuals did not correspond with their declared income or with their employment reports.

Following the investigation officers arrested 39 people for the alleged crimes of criminal organisation, breaches against industrial property, money laundering, smuggling and infringement of the Law on Foreigners. There were 14 arrests in Madrid; 15 in the Girona municipality of Lloret de Mar; four in Sevilla; three in Malaga and three in Tenerife.

In total, officers seized 242,501 items – including football kits, luxury handbags, footwear and jewellery – which infringed the industrial property rights of well-known brands. In addition, they have also seized €86,255 in cash, numerous electronic devices (mobile phones, tablets and laptops) and a large amount of documentation related to the acts under investigation.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Peter phile

      26 July 2023 • 18:21

      The lookie lookie men that sell counterfeit stuff on the beaches and bars need arresting and their fake stuff destroyed.

    • Alan Green

      27 July 2023 • 17:41

      The rich can afford originals. The less well off sometimes buy a copy. It is not such a crime. China appears to be the main manufacturer. The police have more urgent matters I am sure?????

    Comments are closed.