Working with Europol, Spain’s Brigada de Investigacion del Banco de Espana (BIBE) and the US Secret Service, Colombian National Police have dismantled an illegal digital print shop producing counterfeit currency.
Early on 13 March 2014, 50 police officers raided seven premises in the suburbs south of Bogotá, where six Colombian citizens were arrested (four males, two females). In addition, officers seized:
- counterfeit 100 euro banknotes with a face value of EUR 609 600
- counterfeit 100 dollar bills with a face value of USD 900 000
- 347 million counterfeit Colombian pesos (value EUR 121 900)
- uncut sheets of counterfeit euro banknotes, in EUR 50 and EUR 500 denominations
- 41 fake Colombian ID cards and five counterfeit U.S visas
- printers and computer equipment, guillotine cutters, plus other material for producing counterfeit currency and documents such as rolls of imitation security thread, holographic foils, clichés and specialist paper.
Europol provided analytical, financial and forensic support to the investigation, with a Europol specialist present in Bogotá to examine seized currency and equipment.
Europol’s Director, Rob Wainwright, commented on the outcome: “The success of this operation demonstrates the joint commitment of Colombia, Europol and its international law enforcement partners to the fight against currency counterfeiting. Further operational cooperation with Colombian authorities and other regional partners such as Ameripol will ensure the best response to tackle the organised criminal groups that undermine our security and economies.”
Previously, years of skilled apprenticeship and access to expensive professional printing equipment were a prerequisite for engaging in the production of counterfeit banknotes. But now there is an apparent shift by Colombian counterfeiters who have moved from traditional offset printing methods to digital production.