Three men have been arrested by London police on suspicion of selling more than $10 million worth of Cisco equipment.
The arrests were made after detectives from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) last week dismantled a criminal operation suspected of importing, exporting and selling the counterfeit networking products.
Two men, aged 36 and 35, were arrested by the City of London Police unit at their homes in Sawbridgeworth and Birchanger and a third, 38, at his place of work in Bishops Stortford.
The group are believed to been running the counterfeit business through a company website and telesales.
Between December 2012 and April this year, US Customs and Border Protection intercepted 40 shipments of suspected counterfeit Cisco products, which police believe were sent from the suspects’ business in the UK.
PIPCU has been working with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) and CISCO’s Global Brand Protection Team as part of this ongoing investigation.
After searching the suspects’ homes and a further business address in Bishop’s Stortford, Police seized counterfeit networking equipment with an estimated value of more than $1 million.
“Last week’s action saw PIPCU dismantle a criminal gang suspected of cheating the computer industry out of millions of pounds,” said Detective Inspector Mick Dodge, of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.
“Cisco products are used by organisations worldwide to underpin their IT infrastructures. Businesses need to have confidence in their supply chains and be aware of the risks that counterfeit products can have on their networks; potentially compromising integrity and functionality including significant network outages.”
PIPCU is a specialist national police unit dedicated to protecting UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online digital content from intellectual property crime.
The operationally independent unit was launched in April 2013 with funding from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The unit is based within the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London Police, the National Policing Lead for Fraud.
In recent months PIPCU has diverted more than 10.3 million views from pirate sites to a police warning page, received thanks from Sly Stallone after arresting a man on suspicion of leaking the Expendables 3.
It has also arrested a man believed to be the biggest illegal uploader of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) content and suspended more than 2,000 websites selling luxury fake goods.