In September 2022, Spanish law enforcement authorities, with aid from Europol, busted an organized crime group that was printing and distributing counterfeit euro bills.
The authorities searched 9 locations in Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga and Valencia, and arrested 12 individuals. They dismantled a secret currency printing shop, while seizing over €4.3 million in fake bills of €500 denomination, several printing presses, an exposure unit, a hot stamping machine, a paper guillotine and raw materials.
The criminals were using advanced technology to print some of the most sophisticated counterfeit euro bills that have ever been seized in the EU. The prime suspect had previously been detained for similar illicit activities in 2009. Indeed, the fake bills produced were similar in several features to those the suspect had produced in 2009.
The criminal network is likely to have printed more than €8 million of fake currency in just three months. Different members of the criminal network had different roles, such as supplying raw materials (from China, primarily), maintaining the printing equipment, etc. The criminal group used the fake currency for different illicit activities, including drug trafficking.