Spanish police, Europol seize thousands of counterfeit digital ID cards, passports in raid
Almost 2,000 counterfeit passports and ID cards for 56 nationalities and supplies of digital ID card chips were seized in Barcelona as part of an operation to dismantle an organized crime group whose activities spanned property crime and illegal immigration as well as document fraud, reports Europol.
Local, national and European police forces searched three locations and made three arrests as well as seizing the forged documents, equipment and around €13,000 (US$15,000) in cash. The equipment included printers, laminators, professional document cutting tools and a host of security consumables such as UV ink, ID card chips and kinegrams.
The main culprit had ordered materials to make a thousand fake French ID documents and 10,000 Spanish ones. The group was also trafficking genuine ID documents stolen in Spain which were used by people with similar physical characteristics from Middle Eastern countries to aid illegal entry to the EU, states the report.
The operation which took place in July is part of the larger EMPACT project, Joint Operational Team Doc Fraud to tackle document fraud in the EU. EMPACT combats organized and serious international crime.
A report issued by Fourthline earlier this year examined how better authentication practices could stem a growing fraud problem with France’s biometric and digital ID documents.