Just imagine: an Olympic-size swimming pool, all 650,000 or so gallons of its capacity, filled with wine. Then imagine another, and another and a total of 10 of those pools – all filled with wine or other alcoholic products.
That’s how much a vast international coalition of teams of police officers confiscated in a recent worldwide crackdown, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Most of the spirits were fake and/or produced in cringe-inducing, unsanitary conditions.
While most people know the officers who work with INTERPOL, the international police coalition, deal with vast drug-running operations, illegal money-laundering conspiracies and the like, one of the organization’s more prosaic functions is to protect consumers from defective and faulty products.
That includes Operation Opson, a recent effort by police, customs officials and other authorities to confiscate from the private sector counterfeit alcohol and other products, mostly food.
Officials said the crackdown, which ran from December 2016 through March, took nearly 26 million liters of fake alcohol out of circulation. That would be about 6.8 million gallons, while an Olympic pool hold about 660,000 gallons of water.
Active in 61 nations, authorities took more than 9,800 tons of other fake food and related products worth an estimated 230 million euros.
There were 50,000 investigation sites at shops, markets, airports, seaports and industrial estates.
“This operation has once again shown that criminals will fake any type of food and drink with no thought to the human cost as long as they make a profit. Whilst thousands of counterfeit goods have been taken out of circulation, we continue to encourage the public to remain vigilant about the products they buy,” said INTERPOL spokesman Françoise Dorcier.
“Opson VI confirmed the threat that food fraud represents, as it affects all types of products and all regions of the world. In addition we saw some new trends such as counterfeit mineral water. Once again the good cooperation on a European and global level was paramount to disrupt the criminal gangs behind the illicit trade in counterfeit and unregulated food and drink,” added Chris Vansteenkiste, another official for the international organization.