120 people arrested or investigated for food fraud

120 people arrested or investigated for food fraud

120 people arrested or investigated for food fraud

The Civil Guard has detained or investigated 120 people in 16 actions framed in the international operation OPSON X coordinated by Europol, this year focused on alcoholic beverages, honey, horse meat, seeds and plants, and that includes the dismantling of a large international network dedicated to the trade of bivalves not suitable for human consumption in which agents from Pontevedra participated.

In fact, as reported this Saturday by the General Directorate of the Armed Institute, in those actions More than 600 tons of plants have been seized, as well as 116,000 liters of spirits.

The agents have intensified on this occasion the controls against counterfeiting, sale, labeling, trade, illegal distribution or the adulteration of food products and economic fraud.

It has been realized about 2,300 controls and inspections in distribution centers, warehouses, commercial surfaces, means of transport, containers and fiscal warehouses, ports and airports and more than 1,612 administrative and criminal offenses have been detected, with 68 people arrested and 52 investigated.

During the operation, which ran from December 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021, the Civil Guard has intensified surveillance on the relevant threat posed by the agri-food fraud and in which the elaboration and distribution of counterfeit or low-quality products stands out, which directly influences the consumer market, according to the body.

Several modus operandi

Researchers have detected various modus operandi, such as the Documents forgery for the importation of adulterated alcohols or stamped effects or seals on the containers themselves.

In the case of equine meat, the falsification of the documentation of the horses that qualifies them for human consumption has been verified.

Meanwhile, in saffron the adulteration of the original product has been observed with coloring substances that are not allowed to increase the economic benefit.

Police authorities from 72 countries, 26 of which were member states of the European Union, participated in the tenth edition of the OPSON operation and carried out around 68,000 controls, with 663 arrests at the European level.

A fraud of 53.8 million

As it has been possible to quantify, the economic fraud detected amounts to about 53.8 million euros, with a total of 15,451 tons of food seized.

Among the most outstanding actions in Spain, the one carried out by the Pontevedra Civil Guard in coordination with the Portuguese Republican National Guard stands out, which dismantled the largest international network dedicated to the trade in bivalves not suitable for human consumption.

An operation that culminated in the arrest of eight people, seven mercantile companies investigated and the seizure of 120,000 euros, 25 vehicles and 12 boats.

In The Rioja, In a joint action by the Civil Guard and the Tax Agency, a criminal organization dedicated mainly to counterfeiting stamped effects imported from China was investigated.

In addition, actions were carried out in the provinces of La Rioja, JaƩn and Ciudad Real and about 300,000 bottles, 171,200 forged tax seals, 47,660 liters of whiskey and 9,550 liters of alcohol were intervened for the elaboration of the fraudulent product.

This operation culminated in a total of 14 people arrested or investigated.

The Seprona Team of Lion investigated three winery companies that were involved in the fraudulent bottling and labeling of wines with protected designations of origin or geographical indications and that sold at a low price compared to other commercial brands that use the same grape variety.

In the registry in the three companies, more than 25,000 bottles of wine with fraudulent labeling were intervened.

Also the Seprona team, but this time that of the Barcelona Command, acted against a criminal organization dedicated to the commercialization of equine meat not suitable for human consumption.

To introduce the meat of the animals in the food chain they used supposedly falsified equine identification documentation.

A total of 33 detained and 2 investigated for crimes against public health, professional intrusion, crime of document falsification and another of belonging to a criminal organization was the final result of the investigations.

The Civil Guard explains that it has collaborated with different entities and organizations in the public and private spheres, both nationally and regionally, and underlines the close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, which has participated in the inspections carried out and in training tasks for the agents.

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