Police around Europe have cracked down on an international ring producing false identity papers for several countries, detaining 26 people. Seven people were detained in the operation on Czech territory and six have been charged with forgery and money-laundering, including three Armenian nationals who reportedly headed the operation. False IDs were sold to Germany, Austria, France, Norway and Sweden for the price of 300 to 600 euro apiece.
Customs officials at Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport recently seized almost 200,000 fake erectile dysfunction pills, Customs Administration spokeswoman Sarka Miskovska told the CTK news agency. A total of 194,300 counterfeit Viagra and Cialis pills were seized with an estimated street value of 87 million crowns. They reportedly arrived in two shipments from an unspecified country in southern Asia. It is not clear whether the pills were meant for the Czech Republic or another country.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority secured 320 litres of spirits lacking proper documentation at an illegal warehouse in Karlovy Vary, blocking distribution to retailers. Police and customs officials helped in the operation. According to an official, the lack of documentation as well as packs of unused labels (belonging to producer Likérka Drak), suggest illegal alcohol production. Samples of the spirits uncovered are being tested: the results will be known next week. Forty people in the Czech Republic died from methanol poisoning over the last six months after consuming bootleg liquor.
The country’s chief inspection office says it has intensified checks of food products at open air, farmers’ and Christmas markets ahead of the Christmas season. The most frequent transgressions are uncertified goods of unclear origin and products past their expiry date. Special attention is also being paid to adherence to the ban on spirits at open air markets in Prague. The inspection office says it has conducted over 1,500 inspections of food products at open air and farmers’ markets since the start of the year issuing over 200 fines to the tune of 1 million crowns.
Police have cracked down on Prague’s SAPA open air market confiscating counterfeit goods worth millions of crowns. Among the fake goods was sports gear with fake labels to the tune of 4 billion crowns and 13,000 watches with Rolex and Breitling labels being sold for 500 to 1,500 crowns apiece. The price of the originals would be around two billion crowns. A thirty-three-year-old foreign national was detained for questioning. Customs officers and police frequently target open air markets which are known to sell fake labels and rarely come away empty handed.
The police have confiscated approximately 1,240 liters of unstamped bottled alcohol from a family house near the south Moravian city of Znojmo late Friday night. Police spokeswoman said on Saturday that more than 600 liters of rum, 500 liters of vodka and dozens of bottles with other hard liquor were found without proper duty stamps that would verify its source and tax compliance. The content of the bottles is now being tested for methanol. On Friday, police had also discovered barrels with 500 liters of bootleg alcohol in the town of Hustopeče near Brno. The amount of tax evasion in this case was estimated to be approximately 75 thousand crowns.
The police have now arrested 19 people in connection with methyl alcohol
poisonings around the country. The arrests came in three regions:
Moravia-Silesia, Zlín, and
Olomouc. The latest two suspects were arrested in Zlín on Saturday
morning. Two others from the Zlín region have already been charged for
breaking the law on product labeling. As of Saturday afternoon, charges
have been brought against 13 people in connection to the case. A number of
others have been arrested and are being questioned by the police. Arrests
were made in different parts of the country, and most of the accused do
seem to be a part of a single case.
In recent days the consumption of laced bootleg liquor across the country claimed the lives of 19 people. Seven more people were hospitalized with methanol poisoning since Friday afternoon.
The Czech authorities continue to struggle with an outbreak of fatal alcohol poisoning that’s so far claimed the lives of 18 people, apparently from drinking bootleg spirits tainted with the industrial chemical methanol. The government has banned sales of hard alcohol at outdoor kiosks and mobile stands, and says it’s ready to ban spirits outright if the number of deaths continues to rise.
Czech authorities are still clueless regarding the source of bootleg liquor which has killed 11 people across the country over the last six days. The government has established a central emergency response council on Wednesday to in an attempt to bring the situation under control, and is considering declaring a nationwide state of emergency.
Czech police have broken up a major international ring of document forgers
which was based in Prague and Brno but operated in several other European
countries, a spokesman for the organized crime unit of the Czech police
force said on Friday. Seventeen people including one Czech citizen were
arrested during police raids over the last week. The gang was headed by
five Albanian and Bulgarian men with permanent residency in the Czech
Republic. They forged Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Belgian, Dutch, Finnish
Danish passports, IDs and driving licences, as well as those of various
The police said the gang had gained control of the European black market for forged documents over the last decade as its counterfeits could not really be detected during ordinary checks. If convicted, gang members face up to 10 years in prison.