810 995 counterfeit products, 61 246 counterfeit electronic devices seized in a global operation against smuggling


  • Bulgarian Customs teamed up with Portuguese Customs, Frontex, Europol and EUIPO in an anti-smuggling operation
  • Counterfeit goods undermine the EU budget and could pose serious danger for the health of the consumers
  • The total amount of all seized goods during Joint Action Days Pirates 1 exceeds 33 million euro

Between 9-19 May, fifteen EU Member States joined efforts to prevent hundreds of thousands of counterfeit items to reach the European market.

Everyday criminal networks attempt to penetrate the external borders of the EU and profit of off illegal activities. Tirelessly improving the integrated border management and responding to the challenges at the European frontiers, Frontex together with Bulgaria and Portugal organised an operation seeking to thwart smugglers at land and sea borders.

Counterfeit goods, usually cheaper and of inferior quality, can endanger the health of consumers, undermine the legitimate market and negatively affect EU revenues and the labour market situation.

Operation Pirates 1, part of EMPACT Joint Action Days, involved a wide range of law enforcement authorities and was actively supported by Europol, OLAF, EUIPO, CELBET, LEWP-Customs, and the Pharmaceutical Security Institute. Thanks to their shared expertise and cooperation, JAD Pirates 1 resulted in the seizure of counterfeit goods of approximate market value[1] of over 33 million euro.

The seizure included clothes infringing the rights of more than 60 trademarks, footwear, bags, wallets, belts, sunglasses and other accessories, as well as perfumes, electric bikes, and watches.

Additionally, the commitment of the participating countries led to significant side seizures which proved the poly-criminal character of the cross-border illegal activities: counterfeit cigarettes, e-liquid for e-cigarettes, undeclared golden and silver jewellery, pharmaceutical products, over 250 kg of marihuana and 59 firearms, among others.

Frontex plays an active role in combatting the smuggling activities at EU’s external borders. The agency trains border guards across Europe and runs a number of operations at international airports, too, aimed at detecting suspect individuals and shipments before they enter the EU.


– Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Serbia –


The European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) tackles the most important threats posed by organised and serious international crime affecting the EU. EMPACT strengthens intelligence, strategic and operational cooperation between national authorities, EU institutions and bodies, and international partners. EMPACT runs in four-year cycles focusing on common EU crime priorities.

[1] The estimation of the market value is provided by the participating countries considering the specific prices for such types of goods on the local market. The approximate market value is not based on particular market methodology.