By John Ensor •
Published: 09 Oct 2023 • 10:50
An operation that introduced thousands of counterfeit euros into the Spanish economy has be dismantled.
A recent operation in Tarragona province, a collaboration between the National Police, Mossos d’Esquadra, and Europol led to the discovery of a significant counterfeit money operation. Six individuals were detained in the process, with raids taking place in Salou and Cambrils, according to a report published on Monday, September 9.
This isn’t the first time authorities have encountered this group. Investigations revealed that this criminal organisation, previously dismantled in 2021 and 2022, might have injected over 10,000 fake euros into the market. During the raids, counterfeit notes of €50, €20, and €10 were seized, alongside a substantial quantity of illegal drugs.
The investigation began in January 2023. Authorities noticed a surge in counterfeit €10, €20, and some €50 notes. These fakes bore similarities to notes from illegal operations shut down in 2021 and 2022.
Following the arrest of two young individuals who were caught with 100 counterfeit €20 notes, the CNA of the Bank of Spain analysed them. They found these notes shared characteristics with those from the previously dismantled operations in Tarragona.
The counterfeit currency’s origin was traced back to a young man from Salou, who had previously been under surveillance for similar activities. Investigations revealed that some suspects had sourced materials from Chinese firms, possibly for counterfeiting purposes. The counterfeit notes were meticulously crafted in private residences, making detection a challenge for officers.
By the end of September, a coordinated operation resulted in six arrests and seven raids in Salou and Cambrils. One location housed the counterfeit operation, complete with printers, computers, and a €50 note used as a model.
Various drugs, including 1,500 methamphetamine pills, 120 grams of cocaine, and more, were also confiscated.
This operation marks the third time this notorious group has been dismantled. Over three years, 22 arrests have been made, three counterfeit labs shut down, and fake notes worth over €36,000 have been removed from circulation.
The Bank of Spain advises the public to use the ‘touch, look, turn’ method to verify banknote authenticity. Genuine notes have a distinct feel and raised print elements. Holding the note against light reveals watermarks and security threads. Rotating the note showcases changing holographic elements, either a door or window motif or the euro symbol.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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