U.S. Busts – August 2006

RIAA Anti-Piracy Seizure Information

California | Florida | Georgia | Illinois | Louisiana | Maryland | Michigan | MississippiNew York | Pennsylvania


August 31, 2006 – Search warrants were served at three residences in Los Angeles county, after surveillance and undercover investigations by the LA County Sheriff’s Department Special Projects Team turned up evidence of piracy. The three locations were operating a residential burner lab and a distribution ‘pick house.’ After reviewing the quantity of product seized at each location, the numbers suggest that after replication at one house the music was then going on to one of the other houses for distribution, while the movies being replicated were going to the third residence for distribution. At the pick house, the suspects had product spread on the floor of a rear garage in a manner where product was to be distributed to smaller vendors and wholesalers. By the end of the three-home raid, three suspects were arrested, and 126 Burners, 7,543 CDRs and 10,917 DVDRs were seized along with raw material and equipment.

August 2006 – Seven arrests were made at a flea market in Stockton, CA after Stockton PD and RIAA investigators observed fourteen vendor spaces offering music CDs for sale on Saturday, August 14th. After making undercover music purchases at all spaces it was confirmed that nine of the fourteen were selling counterfeit and pirate music. Officers then raided the infringing locations and seized 7,132 CDs and 248 movie DVDs. Seven suspects were arrested on music piracy charges.


August 11, 2006 – Miami police seized thousands of illegal movies and CDs from an apartment in Little Havana. The raid on the apartment took place after one of the men allegedly sold an undercover police officer three bootleg DVDs for $10. Officers seized between 3,000 and 4,000 illegal DVDs and CDs, which they laid out for reporters on the lawn outside the apartment. Titles included movies still in theaters, such as Miami Vice and Superman Returns. One of the men also had a loaded pistol, which he told police he carried for protection from other bootleggers.


August 2, 2006 – Officers from the Atlanta PD obtained a search warrant for an automotive repair shop that was doubling as a manufacturing and distribution shop for illicit music and movies with the help of the RIAA and MPAA investigators. The location was also previously brought to the attention of the Atlanta PD for suspected drug activity in the past. After a brief barricade situation, the Atlanta PD and the ATF gained access to the shop. One suspect was found hiding within the walls with $300 dollars in cash, two counterfeit $50 dollar bills and with a handgun within reach. A half-pound of marijuana was also seized along with 58 high-speed burners, 11,255 counterfeit CDs, 5060 counterfeit DVDs. In addition to the sound violations, one suspect will also be charged with Federal Handgun violations. Both suspects were arrested and brought to the Fulton County Jail.


August 2006 – Nine individuals were arrested during a raid at a flea market in Bolingbrook, IL. The flea market had been the subject of an ongoing investigation over the last year. Fourteen vendor booths were discovered to have illegal copies of music and movies with over 23,269 counterfeit/pirate Latin CDRs and 1,455 counterfeit movie DVD-Rs.


August 22, 2006 – After being arrested, a former narcotics trafficker told New Orleans Police that he is now only involved in the copying and selling of movies and music. This is another example of a continuing trend of ‘switch criminals’ making a living on the lucrative counterfeit and piracy market. The arrest was made after two search warrants were executed by the Louisiana Department of Justice and officers from the New Orleans PD. The search warrants were based on an ongoing narcotics investigation on the location; however, upon walking into the residence, narcotics agents noticed a large reproduction lab with the computer equipment up and running and with the burners still connected. Agents then seized 4,913 CDRs, 3,896 DVDs and all equipment.


August 20, 2006 – $20,000 in crack cocaine, 22 grams of marijuana and 2 semi-automatic handguns were seized after police realized that a street vendor was selling a lot more the just pirated CDs in the back of his Cadillac. RIAA investigators received information about subjects selling counterfeit items in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Oxon Hill, MD. RIAA investigators responded to the area and set up surveillance and were soon observing several subjects gathering around a green Cadillac, the suspects would enter the trunk of the Cadillac to obtain discs which were then sold to vehicles passing by. RIAA investigators then contacted members of the Violent Crimes Task Force who were working in the area to have them respond to the scene. As the officers approached unnoticed, the trunk of the car remained open allowing the counterfeit items to be observed in plain view. The officers then stopped the three subjects and began to interview them. Over the course of the interview, one of the suspects stated that he had ‘weed’ on him and he was advised to leave the vehicle. Upon leaving the vehicle the suspect grabbed his rear pants pocket and looked like he was ready to bolt. Two of the officers then grabbed the subject and a struggle ensued, after the suspect was handcuffed and arrested, officers found a semi-automatic handgun in his back pocket. The other two subjects were placed under arrest as well. A search of the vehicle revealed 10.5 grams of crack cocaine and another handgun, as well as 228 counterfeit CDs and 206 counterfeit DVDs.


August 2006 – After receiving a tip that illegal CDs and marijuana were being sold at a retail store in Detroit, RIAA investigators informed the Detroit PD of the information and they also filled the PD in on the previous raid three years ago for the sale of illegal CDRs. The Detroit PD Narcotics Division promptly began an eight-month investigation which included several undercover buys of CDRs and DVDRs. After securing a search warrant the Detroit PD Narcotics Division, RIAA and MPAA investigators entered the retail store and upon arriving they noticed a moderate-sized lab for the manufacture and distribution of CDRs and DVDRs and also video pornography. Confiscated from the location were 1,431 counterfeit/pirate CDRs, 2,092 counterfeit movie DVDRs, 45 CD/DVD burners, 5,000 empty jewel cases, 3,000 blank CDRs/ DVDRs, 4 printers, and 4,000+ pornography movies. Police also confiscated 1-1/2 pounds of Marijuana, 45 digital drug scales, 3 firearms and $2800 in cash. The store owner was arrested and charged with felonies.


September 19, 2006 – RIAA investigators assisted the Canton Police Department with an ongoing investigation into the piracy activities at a residence on Franklin Street in Canton, Mississippi. After executing the search warrant officers seized 1 tower containing ten burners and 3 towers containing four burners for a total of 22 burners as well as 8,671 counterfeit DVDs and 9,125 counterfeit CDs. One suspect was arrested and is now in the Madison County Jail.

New York

August 18, 2006 – The White Plains PD, Westchester County PD, US Secret Service along with the RIAA and Target Inc. investigators executed a search warrant at a music store on Mamaroneck Ave in White Plains, NY. This warrant resulted in 2 arrests and the seizure of 4 Burners, 300 CDRs, 150 MPAA/DVDRs, raw material and a shrink wrap machine. Also recovered was over $100,000 worth of stolen property and $236,000 in U.S. currency.

August 2006 – The RIAA NY office investigators assisted the NYPD’s 67th PCT with a court-issued search warrant on Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn, NY. The search warrant was obtained after informants made several buys at the location and the product was verified as counterfeit/pirate. In the process of executing the search warrant, 5 arrests were made and 32,700 CDRs and 11,608 MPAA DVDRs were seized. An additional 35 Burners and raw material were seized as well.


August 16, 2006 – The Philadelphia PD responded to a radio call that a robbery was occurring at a Philadelphia home and a hostage was in the basement. When officers arrived at the home they noticed that the front door was locked and while standing at the front of the home, two individuals arrived and voluntarily opened the door with their keys and invited the officers inside to make sure that everything was okay. While inside the basement, officers observed in plain view an illegal manufacturing location. Both individuals were taken into custody and charged with felonies. Over 5,888 counterfeit/pirate CDRs, 36 counterfeit music DVDRs and 10,200 counterfeit movie DVD-Rs were seized. No hostage was found in the basement of the home.

August 2006 – During a routine traffic stop two suspects were arrested after Philadelphia PD found that the driver did not have a valid driver’s license. After observing in plain view 396 counterfeit/pirate CDRs and 1,258 counterfeit movie DVDRs inside the vehicle police did a more thorough search of the car. Police then also found drugs and $4,395 in cash.

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