Police have confiscated counterfeit toner cartridges worth €10 million (US$11.9 million) and apprehended a gang involved in worldwide trafficking in Hesse, Germany.
According to hessenschau.de customs officials in Frankfurt arrested 24 people allegedly involved in the German-Iranian gang that manufactured and sold counterfeit Kyocera toner cartridges.
Police raided 24 residential and business premises in the Rhein-Main and North Rhine-Westphalia districts. At the same time, a company was searched in the Netherlands.
The 24 suspects range in age between 29 and 72. Three have been allegedly identified as the main ring-leaders: a 34-year-old man from Gross-Umstadt and two 48- and 52-year-old men of no fixed address in Germany.
Crime investigators found more than €100,000 (US$119,000) in cash as well as gold and valuables worth €40,000 (US$47,450).
A Frankfurt customs officer explained the gang had bought empty toner cartridges in Europe that were then exported to China and Dubai to be filled and returned again to Germany. Some of the toner cartridges were also filled in a production facility in Frankfurt and Dieburg. A network of businesses in Germany and The Netherlands then distributed the products declaring them to be new, original products from Kyocera. Cash from sales then flowed back to accounts of the perpetrators in Dubai.
Hans-Jürgen Schmidt, a Customs Office spokesman said, “At the current time, the amount of damages is hard to estimate. We expect it to run into the double-digit million range.”
In order to transport the confiscated products more than 20 shipments were made by freight train and road haulage trucks.