A joint operation conducted by The Portuguese Judicial Police (Polícia Judiciária) along with with the Europol allowed
The authorities announced the arrest of five members of the counterfeit currency networks, the individuals are accused of counterfeiting and organized crime.
“The Portuguese Judicial Police (Polícia Judiciária) dismantled Europe’s second-largest counterfeit currency network on the dark web with Europol’s support.” reads the announcement published by Europol. “Five individuals have been arrested and are accused of counterfeiting and organised crime.”
The fake banknotes, worth over € 1.3 million, were seized by the police across Europe, most of them in France, Germany, Spain and Portugal.
The Europol provided financial and operational support on the operation, agents executed a total of eight searches in Portugal alone.
“Europol supported this operation since the beginning with counterfeit and dark web experts. Several meetings were held at Europol, and intelligence notification packages were issued as well.” continues the Europol. “Apart from the financial support, the European law enforcement agency provided the Portuguese authorities with analytical and operational support during the action day. One Europol’s analyst was deployed for on-the-spot support with a Mobile Office during the action day. “
The police seized 1,833 counterfeit banknotes (1,290 €50 banknotes and 543 €10 banknotes) totaling €69 930, and equipment used to print the fake banknotes, including printers, computers, ultraviolet inks, security paper, and holograms.
The crooks were operating through shops and marketplaces hosted on the Tor network.
This operation confirms that the production of fake banknotes is still a profitable business for international crime rings that take advantage of the new technologies to commercialize their illegal products attempting to protect the anonymity of buyers and sellers.