Pirates' plunder seized

Operation recovers $115 mil worth of counterfeit goods

WASHINGTON -- An Interpol-led investigation code-named Operation Jupiter that targeted South American cartels triggered 185 busts and led to the seizure of $115 million worth of pirated goods, the international police agency and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced.

Operation Jupiter's three phases -- executed over 3 1/2 years -- interrupted pirate networks operating in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. The operation, which closed in December, was touted as a paragon of industry-government cooperation.

"By working together, the business community and Interpol are bringing criminal counterfeiters to justice while protecting the innovators, workers and consumers who rely on legitimate and safe products," U.S. Chamber of Commerce intellectual property center chief David Hirschmann said.

Simultaneous searches in the notorious "La Slaada" pirate marketplace netted more than 1 million CDs and DVDs, 8.6 million film and music jacket sleeves and 273 burners, authorities said.

Also seized were bootleg designer clothes, counterfeit electronics, fake medicine, illegal narcotics, weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.