Argentina shuts down counterfeit note printing operation
- Published: Sep 4, 2021, 9 AM
A more than 18-month investigation by Argentina’s Federal Police resulted in dismantling an international ring that specialized in counterfeiting pesos and dollars for multiple markets on a massive scale. The Buenos Aires Times reported the news on Aug. 17.
Sixteen people, from Argentina, Peru, and Uruguay, were arrested Aug. 11 after 20 raids in and around Buenos Aires. Authorities seized forgeries of $150,000 U.S., 780,000 Argentine pesos and 1,600 Brazilian reais, as well as genuine cash: 2,016,430 Argentine pesos, 30,580 Uruguayan pesos and $14,600.
Police said the hardest part of the investigation was locating the production sites. They have so far located at least two printing presses in Argentina, one in the Buenos Aires Province town of 9 de Julio, more than 155 miles west of the city, and another in Rosario, Santa Fe Province, 186 miles to the northwest.
Police said they also discovered bank notes forged in other countries, and evidence that the network included financiers, distributors and fences who introduced the bogus money into the financial system.
Police compared the distribution aspect of the operation to drug trafficking. An inspector said that parts of the group swapped money among themselves to pave the way to introduce it into foreign markets. He elaborated, “For example, they call a ‘litre’ every sum of a false US$100,000 which enters our country via the frontiers in various ways. These counterfeiters operate in truly global networks.”
The scariest and most surprising detail to emerge from the raid was that the group was able to successfully forge the latest version of the U.S. $100 bill with its blue security ribbon. These were said to be made in Argentina.
It is not surprising that one of the ringleaders is from Peru, considered by some to be the counterfeiting capital of the world.
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