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Cocaine, cigarettes and R22 refrigerant

BELGIUM: Cocaine, cigarettes and R22 refrigerant were amongst a haul of illegal items caught up in a large-scale operation targeting counterfeit goods by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

While Operation Renegade was primarily targeted at the international trade in counterfeit auto spare parts, an additional 400,000 counterfeit goods, including chewing gum, toys, perfumes, headphones, garden appliances and sunglasses, were also halted at the EU’s doorstep.

Also seized in the operation were 8,024kg of R22, 56 million cigarettes and 668kg of cocaine.

The R22 seizure was found in two shipments during the operation in April – one of 490 cylinders and the other of 100 cylinders. The origin of the refrigerants has not been clearly established, but preliminary investigations suggest that the cylinders were transhipped in Afghanistan and transported to Pakistan.

Under the coordination of OLAF, EU and Asian customs authorities carried out targeted physical checks on more than 400 containers. Most of the European ports were involved in the operation, which, over the course of two weeks, uncovered a wide array of counterfeit goods.

The operation was coordinated by OLAF, with the support of a team of six customs liaison officers from Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Norway, China and Europol, all working together in Brussels. During the operational phase of Renegade, OLAF facilitated the cooperation between the EU Member States, Norway, 12 Asian countries (Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Lao, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), Interpol, Europol and the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Western Europe (World Customs Organisation).

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