During the 10 days of the Operation Silver Axe II, Europol, together with OLAF and competent authorities from these 16 EU countries* were involved in inspecting over 940 shipments of Plant Protection Products. As a result, the various law enforcement agencies in the participating countries discovered almost 122 tons of illegal or counterfeit pesticides, detecting 48 cases** which led also to the initiation of further investigations by the authorities.
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.
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.
Cooperation with private industry and other European and international bodies was crucial to the success of the action. CropLife International, the European Crop Protection Association ECPA and the European Crop Care Association ECCA, representing the plant protection industry, and EC-DG SANTE, OLAF, Interpol and FAO from the public sector, participated in the preparation phase as well as during the operation. Private sector played an important role, especially the Polish crop protection association – PSOR. <
* Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, , Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain, United Kingdom and the action leader Netherlands.
** Infringements include: Counterfeit pesticides (e.g. IP infringements/non-genuine products), illicit pesticides (e.g. unknown products potentially containing unauthorised chemicals) or false declarations (e.g. transporting dangerous goods).