Wednesday 3 November 2010

Operation Smoking Dragon

There is often discussion about whether product counterfeiting supports terrorism and drug trafficking. Westlaw News reports the latest example of counterfeiters also dabbling in both terrorism and illegal drug importation. A California jury recently convicted a man of trafficking millions of dollars worth of counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes and illegal drugs. He also attempted to import counterfeit US Dollars allegedly printed in North Korea. As if that wasn't enough, he and his partner attempted to sell Chinese surface-to-air missiles to undercover FBI agents as part of a sting operation called Operation Smoking Dragon. More and more frequently, agents investigating potential counterfeit shipments discover connections to narcotics dealers and terrorists.

Though there are already enough reasons for brands to be vigilant in their anti-counterfeiting efforts, the possibility of finding counterfeit products bearing their trademarks amidst a shipment of narcotics or weapons is yet one more.

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