Colombian and international authorities said Saturday they had cracked a counterfeit currency ring that had produced millions of dollars worth of fake cash.
Counterfeit cash including over US$1 million, close to 500,000 euros and more than 3 million Colombian pesos were recovered during two separate busts involving Colombian police, Europol and the U.S. Secret Service earlier this year. The joint operations were both carried out in March, but have only now been made public. According to Europol, the counterfeit cash was found in an illegal printing shop in Bogota. At least three arrests were made, and local media has reported the counterfeiters were producing fake cash complete with sophisticated features like imitation security threads and watermarks.
Millions of dollars of fake currency have been uncovered by authorities in Colombian in recent years, with Europol estimating since 2006 over 19 million euros along have been seized.
In a statement, Europol acknowledged Colombian counterfeiters are becoming increasingly skilled.
“Previously, years of skilled apprenticeship and access to expensive professional printing equipment were a prerequisite for engaging in the production of counterfeit banknotes,” Europol stated.
The statement continued, “But now there is an apparent shift by Colombian counterfeiters who have moved from traditional offset printing methods to digital production.”