On Wednesday, 8 August 2012, Colombian authorities dismantled two illegal print-shops producing counterfeit banknotes in euros, US Dollars and British Pounds, as well as Colombian Peso coins.
The first operation, carried out by the Colombian National Police DIJIN with the support of the Brigada de Investigación Del Banco de España (BIBE), the US Secret Service and Europol, started early on Wednesday morning.
In total, 120 police officers were involved and carried out 16 house searches in Bogota and two in Popayan. The DIJIN police arrested 12 suspects and seized:
- counterfeit EUR banknotes with a face value of almost 2 million euros (denomination 100 and 500),
- counterfeit US Dollars with a face value of more than 1.8 million US Dollars (denomination 100),
- counterfeit British Pounds with a face value of about 50,000 British Pounds (denomination 50),
- partly finished counterfeit Colombian Peso coins (about 20,000) and materials for producing counterfeit coins,
- a variety of printing equipment such as inkjet printers, computers, hot foil stamping machines, holograms, inks, paper and printing plates for the production of counterfeit banknotes.
The second operation was conducted by the Colombian Prosecutor-General's Office (CTI), also supported by the Brigada de Investigación Del Banco de España (BIBE), the US Secret Service and Europol.
Here, two suspects were arrested and authorities seized counterfeit euro banknotes with a face value of more than 1.2 million euros, unfinished and finished counterfeit US Dollar banknotes in the denominations 10, 20 and 100, as well as printing and computer equipment.
According to the Colombian authorities, the criminals intended to send the counterfeit euro banknotes to Europe by mail and/or Colombian mules travelling by plane.
Both operations were supported by Europol in its capacity as the EU Central Office for Combating Euro Counterfeiting. Europol coordinated both investigations and provided analytical, technical and financial support. During the raids a Europol specialist provided on-the-spot technical support and expertise to the Colombian authorities.