RIAA Anti-Piracy Seizure Information
November 21, 2006 – While executing a search warrant for pirated merchandise, detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department along with RIAA investigators took possession of evidence pertaining to the search along with one arrest. However, as the search warrant continued another man was noticed leaving the location. Investigators tracked him down and made a traffic stop. During a search of the suspect’s vehicle, investigators determined just why he was in such a hurry to leave. After identifying pirated merchandise in his car, the suspect soon lead detectives back to his residence and the storage facility where he was manufacturing and selling pirated merchandise. The search warrant ultimately led investigators to 72 burners, 706 CDRs, 244 music videos and 12,511 DVDs.
November 11, 2006 – An anonymous complaint to the BadBeat hotline led to three arrests at a swap meet in Downey, CA. Authorities were tipped off in September that vendors were selling copied CDRs at the Warren High School Swap Meet in Downey. After conducting an investigation with the Downey Police Department, the RIAA assisted the PD with the raid on November 11. No detention was handed out during the high school sweep. Instead, the penalty was much stiffer with three arrests and seizure of all 1,320 high-quality pirated CDs.
November 2006 – While searching a residence in connection with a domestic violence/attempted homicide investigation, Tulare police officers observed a DVD production lab in plain view in an upstairs bedroom. After obtaining an additional separate search warrant for that specific bedroom, Police Officers contacted the RIAA Western Regional Office and advised investigators that they had uncovered a DVD production lab at their crime scene. Upon arrival at the house and subsequent inspection of the lab, 950 counterfeit CDs were seized and 462 music video DVDs were also among the evidence on DVDRs. Additionally, 1,923 MPAA movies, a shrink wrap machine, one paper cutter and thirty-six burners were seized.
November 21, 2006 – Two video stores were searched in Forest Park, GA after search warrants were given for evidence of the business being affiliated and operating a burner lab. Undercover purchases and surveillance occurred in the month leading up to the search warrant by RIAA Investigators and Clayton County PD. Upon execution of the search warrant at the first store, 2,050 pirated Latin CDRs were seized and the owner was arrested on the scene with an arrest warrant issued for the co-owner and husband. At the second store Atlanta PD seized 5,410 Latin CDRs and 245 MPAA DVDRs, the DVDRs were burned copies of movies that were in fact being rented out to the video store members. Additionally, a pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle were seized from the store along with two towers containing eight burners. The owner was charged and arrested at the scene.
November 14, 2006 – Jay-Z’s newest album Kingdom Come was due to be released to the world on November 20, 2006. However, six days prior to the release date Universal Music Group notified RIAA officials that the album was leaked somehow and was now being reproduced without their consent by a music store in Augusta, GA. The music store was raided by the local sheriff’s office with two arrests being made on November 14. In total, 7,913 CDRs, 127 DVDRs, 2 burners and 1,050 pieces of blank media were seized. During the search, evidence was also found establishing the fact that this business was manufacturing and distributing pre-released copies of Jay-Z’s album. The owner of the business advised that he had downloaded the album over a P2P server after locating it online. Two months prior to the leak, the music store was also under investigation for suspicion of selling pirate and counterfeit product. A local retailer had complained to the RIAA about several businesses and two flea markets that were engaged in the sale of counterfeit or pirate sound recordings and that it was impacting their legitimate business. After investigators determined that the store that lodged the complaint was indeed selling legitimate product, investigators moved on to check out the business in the surrounding area. Upon initially entering the music store in September it was clear that this store was engaged in illegal activity, 2,000 plus pirate and counterfeit products were on display in plain view as well as computers were on the scene. Investigators made several purchases for below market value, no tax was assessed and receipts were not given.
November 11, 2006 – While performing a raid, Clayton County Sheriffs Deputies discovered that the suspect of a piracy investigation was ‘cooking’ veterinary grade anabolic steroids. The suspect was mixing it with other substances such as polyethylene glycol to make the steroids injectable. Found on the scene nearby were numerous preloaded syringes and other paraphernalia associated with steroid usage. The suspect’s residence was raided after he made overt offers over the internet to sell movies that he had personally recorded in theaters. In addition to the movies, he was offering for sale an extensive list of counterfeit DVDs that he was burning in the home along with the illegal sound recordings. Undercover Sheriffs Deputies had traded several e-mails with the subject over the previous weeks which eventually led to the initial raid where 5 CDR/DVD burners were seized along with one 20gig hard disc camcorder, 125 CDRs, 245 blank DVDRs and 148 master recordings. The suspect was arrested on the scene.
November 8, 2006 – Two kilos of cocaine with an approximate street value starting around $68,000 dollars were seized from a man who was trying to use his business as a front for his drug dealing gig on the side. Now in terms of drug-produced revenue depending on how the kilos were broken down a ‘twenty’ bag in Atlanta would be $20 and around 0.2 grams, so 1 gram would be around $100. At that rate, 2 kilos would yield upwards of $200K at the very least depending on how many times the cocaine was pressed and mixed with other white substances such as baby laxatives, baby power or powdered detergent depending on your region. The kilos were seized after RIAA Investigators working with Atlanta PD executed a search warrant on Martin Luther King Blvd. Upon gaining entry into the business officers located one kilo of cocaine, and after completing a thorough second search a second kilo was soon located. The search warrant was granted after receiving information that the business was selling illicit unauthorized sound recordings. A total of 2,265 unauthorized recordings displaying counterfeit trademarks were seized. Additionally, 1,026 master CDs and one firearm were seized. The suspect was arrested for possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm and counterfeit trademark violation.
November 12, 2006 – After a month long investigation in Chicago, the pay off came when the cameras started rolling and the reporters began writing. When the RIAA teamed up with the Chicago Police Department Financial Crimes Unit, Fugitive Apprehension Section and First District on November 12, five arrests were made along with over $200,000 worth of bootlegged CDs and DVDs being seized. The recovery of 5,332 CDRs, 397 DVDRs and 173 music DVDRs brought out local television stations along with the Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune. The evening news broadcast covered the sweep conducted at the Canal Street Market where the arrests and seizure were made.
November 11, 2006 – A major distributor’s right-hand man was arrested at a burner lab on W. Marquette Road in Chicago, and 72 burners were seized. The suspect was in charge of running all of the day-to-day operations for what he describes as a distribution lab supplying Chicago suburbs such as Madison and Pulaski with 50-60% of their counterfeit/pirate material. This arrest came after a month of surveillance and the arrest of one of the suspect’s henchmen at the Maywood Laundromat. When the suspect arrived at the parking lot of the Laundromat to deliver a large quantity of illegal CDs and DVDs to the henchman he was arrested agreeing to cooperate with the police and signed consent forms for the burner lab and the distribution site. Seized at the burner lab were; 72 burners, 3 copiers, a scanner, one laminator, 2 paper cutters, 275 masters, 3,872 CDRs, 5,119 DVDRs, 1700 blank disks, 1,000 jewel cases, and 1,250 inserts. Found at the distribution site; 1,259 DVDRs and 213 CDRs.
November 16, 2006 – Four suspects were arrested after the NYPD OCID Unit seized 19,317 MPAA DVDRs at the distribution site for the burner lab located and previously raided in Brooklyn. Additionally, 9,200 counterfeit CDRs and 1,600 music DVDRs were seized from this residence that was posing as an illegal distributor of sound recordings. Over the course of October, RIAA investigators made several undercover purchases using funds provided by the OCID unit.
November 10, 2006 – A basement apartment on Lenox Ave, in New York City, was searched after a search warrant was granted following several purchases. The RIAA NY field office assisted the NYPD 30th Pct. in the execution and turned up 14 burners, 200 counterfeit CDRs, 1,600 pirate CDRs and 4,005 MPAA DVDRs. Additionally, three boxes of raw materials containing inserts, blanks and jewel cases were seized. Two suspects who were in the home were arrested and charges are currently pending.
November 6, 2006 – While conducting surveillance of a suspect vehicle in October, it was determined that a burner lab was present at an apartment in Brooklyn, NY. Investigators observed a male exiting the vehicle and entering the basement of the location and returning in a short while carrying six large woven plastic bags containing what appeared to be cases of CDRs and DVDRs. These bags were then loaded in the vehicle and brought to another apartment on Broadway in NYC where the product was in turn brought inside. Back at the first apartment on November 6, a search warrant was conducted with the seizure of 5 towers yielding 35 burners, 3,000 MPAA/DVDRs and 4 boxes of raw materials.
November 2, 2006 – The Philadelphia Police; West Detective Division and uniformed officers from the 18th police district set off in the morning hours to raid four locations. While the raids all occurred on the same day, these were in fact two separate operations with burner lab/distribution combos being run by two different suspects. As a result, 291 burners were seized, making this event the most burners seized at one time. Just topping the old record held in Atlanta for 281 burners.
During the first operation at a basement apartment on Pine Street a distribution center was raided after police forced the door open with a sledgehammer. A total of 15, 660 CDRs and 17,000 MPAA DVDRs were seized. Over at the burner lab on Berbero Street police arrested the suspect in the driveway behind the home while he was operating his delivery vehicle. At this lab, 213 burners were seized along with 10 computers, 56 empty raw material boxes, 9,800 jewel cases, 120 mast CDs, 1,800 blank CDRs, 6,000 insert cards and an additional 2,473 CDRs.
The second operation also started at another basement apartment location posing as a distribution location just ten homes away from the first on Pine Street. The suspect in this location was arrested just outside of the distribution center while also operating a delivery van after investigators on surveillance posts notified the police of the suspect’s whereabouts and he was apprehended shortly thereafter. At this distribution location, 15,500 music CDRs and 17,000 MPAA DVDRs were seized. At the corresponding burner lab (which was empty at the time of entry) 78 burners, 2 computers, 1 VCR, 1 printer, 1 scanner, 760 master CDs, 800 blank CDRs, 6,000 blank DVD-Rs, 11,525 insert cards, 1,500 jewel cases and an additional 150 counterfeit CDRs and 1,050 music DVDRs were seized. Arrest warrants were issued for additional targets involved with both of these operations who were not present when the raids took place. With such an astounding number of product and burning lab equipment off the streets, it definitely was a jolly day for the RIAA.