Clandestine surgical masks factory raided during covid-19 lockdown

Peru
  • On 17 April 2020 a raid was carried out in a huge factory located in the Lima Norte area
  • Although preliminary information suggested that the factory was making surgical masks, fake apparel and labels were also seized
  • The IP prosecutor identified the manager of the factory as being responsible for the commission of crimes against intellectual property and public health

 

On 17 April 2020 a raid was carried out in a huge factory located in the San Martin de Porres District, in the Lima Norte area, which is well known for the manufacturing of finished apparel and supplies in Peru.

The target could be raided due to the constant surveillance of crowded places. The preliminary information obtained about the factory was that it was a workshop making surgical masks. However, this kind of product was not the only one that was being stored/manufactured at the workshop: t-shirts, sweatshirts and thousands of fake labels bearing well-known trademarks were also found.

During the inspection action, members of the police specialised in investigating IP crimes communicated with the criminal prosecutor specialised in contraband and IP crimes for the Lima Norte area, who ordered to proceed with the preliminary seizure of the goods and machinery, if possible. However, due to the lockdown, it was not possible to take the infringing goods into public storage; therefore, the goods and the machinery were immobilised.

This enforcement action was a success, as more than 1,500 units of fake apparel, 40,000 labels and six industrial manufacturing machines were immobilised. The brands involved included Lacoste, Caterpillar, Reef, Billabong and Huntington.

In this action, the IP prosecutor identified the manager of the clandestine factory as being responsible for the commission of crimes against intellectual property, as well as crimes against public health (as the raid was conducted during the covid-19 lockdown).

The immobilised goods and machinery are currently being held at the workshop and the seized goods are being stored in a public warehouse while investigations are carried out by the IP prosecutor and the IP Police to determine the criminal responsibility of the owners. The authorities will then be able to proceed with the destruction of the infringing merchandise. The Peruvian Criminal Code states that any party that manufactures, sells, distributes or offers counterfeit merchandise may be sanctioned with two to five years of imprisonment.

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