Europol announced that together with OLAF the organisation has supported an intensive coordinated international operation carried out at major seaports and airports and at the land borders of Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain, United Kingdom and the action leader Netherlands. During the 10 days of the Operation Silver Axe II, competent authorities from these 16 EU countries were involved in inspecting over 940 shipments of Plant Protection Products.
The operation is targeting the emerging menace of illicit pesticides, being focused on the their sale and placing on the market (imports), including infringements of intellectual property rights such as trademarks, patents and copyright, as well as the substandard pesticides. As a result, the various law enforcement agencies in the participating countries discovered almost 122 tons of illegal or counterfeit pesticides, detecting 48 cases1 which led also to the initiation of further investigations by the authorities.
Operation Silver Axe has reached to its second phase and is becoming a recurring operation supported by Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC3). During the operation, Europol experts exchanged and analysed data received from the participating countries, liaised with rights holders from the private sector and provided on the spot support. OLAF provided Europol with information on suspicious containers of pesticides transhipped in the European Union.