A total of 407 people have been arrested in a large operation coordinated by Interpol and Europol between December 2019 and June 2020 targeting the trafficking of potentially dangerous drinks, food and medical products, Interpol announced Wednesday.
The operation, which involved authorities from 77 countries, resulted in the seizure of more than 12,000 tonnes of goods worth $ 40 million, and the dismantling of 19 organized crime organizations, says the cooperation agency. international police officer based in Lyon.
Products seized include contaminated dairy products, meat from illegally slaughtered animals and counterfeit medical products.
In Bulgaria, the operation led to the discovery, in a clandestine warehouse, of cheese containing Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) bacteria. 3.6 tonnes of dairy products were seized and destroyed there.
During operations in Jordan, 6,500 liters of expired energy drink and soda and more than 7 tonnes of spoiled milk and cheese were also seized.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Interpol also reports having coordinated the seizure of thousands of counterfeit medical products, including disinfectant gel and 17,000 fake Coronavirus test kits.
In South Africa, a shipment from Asia supposed to contain medical protective equipment was actually concealing seafood, details Interpol.
“At a time when all over the world efforts are being made to contain Covid-19, the fact that criminal networks are distributing these potentially dangerous products demonstrates their determination to make a profit”, underlines the secretary general of Interpol Jürgen Stock .
As in previous operations of the same type, contraband alcohol accounted for the largest share of the seizures, for more than $ 20 million, including 5,000 liters of vodka discovered in a trailer in Norway.
This operation, dubbed “Opson” and repeated every year for 9 years, has also made it possible to prevent the trade in other adulterated or counterfeit goods such as cosmetics, clothing, tobacco, shoes and clothing, as well as electronic products with a total value of $ 3.1 million.