U.S. Busts – November 2008

RIAA Anti-Piracy Seizure Information

California | Connecticut | Illinois | New York | Puerto Rico | Texas


November 26, 2008 – In November 2008 alone, more than 533,000 people were laid off in the U.S, according to ABC News. That’s the worst one-month decline in more than 30 years. With astonishing numbers like that, keeping a fresh and impressive resume is important for anyone who is unemployed. Unfortunately for a pair of unemployed criminals in California, getting arrested for burning CDs is not going to look good on future job applications. Officials discovered the unemployed criminal duo on November 26, 2008. Investigators worked alongside members of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept. in executing two search warrants, the first of which was at a residence also acting as a large burner lab. Inside the residence, officials found one of the jobless criminals operating six burner towers at once. After uncovering the large residential burner lab, officials then executed the second warrant at a local storage facility. The non-working partners in crime were caught storing thousands of pirated CDs, jewel cases and inserts. Investigators helped officials seize 66 burners, 7,462 pirated CDs and 11,016 pirated DVDs.


November, 2008 – Investigators in Connecticut finally busted an online counterfeit operation discovered back in August 2006. The website, mixtapehype.com, was a two-man operation working out of a residence in Prospect, CT. Alongside the U.S. Postal Inspectors’ office, investigators determined the website was shipping thousands of pirated material across the country. Investigators began making undercover buys and gained enough evidence to execute two search warrants. While executing the search warrants, officials learned that consumers could in fact buy anything online…and that included thousands of illegal CDs. At the residence, investigators helped locate and seize 11,500 CDRs, 220 music DVDs, three burners and 10,000 insert cards.


November 21, 2008 – Investigators with the Central Region office were notified that a man was selling illegal music and movies at a local chicken restaurant. Investigators soon conducted an undercover buy and turned over information to the 22nd District Tactical Team. On November 25, 2008, Tactical Officers entered the local restaurant and found the suspect sitting at a table. The man had a display of numerous CDs and DVDs on the table and the floor. Officials discovered the man was not only ruining the casual dining atmosphere, but was also selling counterfeit CDs and DVDs to patrons. Officers placed the suspect under arrest and seized 19 burners, 485 CDRs and 310 DVDRs. He then yelled out, “I have seven kids at home and I need to feed them. It ain’t like I’m selling dope!.”

November 24, 2008 – Officials with the Riverdale, IL Police discovered the location of a prank-calling criminal. The caller was located after three 911 hang-up calls were received. Officials tracked down the phone number (it’s this new technology called “Caller ID”) and found the caller’s address. When officials arrived at the address, they noticed the lights and a TV were on. After no initial response, the owner finally yelled out to officials “No one called the police!” Officials finally gained entry to the residence and encountered a large CD manufacturing operation. Riverdale officers were able to seize 22 burners, 1,598 CDRs, 1,006 DVDRs along with a .357 Magnum.

New York

November 12, 2008 – RIAA investigators took action in the surrounding area of the old Shea Stadium. Alongside the NYPD OCID, they worked to execute six search warrants in Queens. At the residential locations, investigators proved their dominance by helping officials seize 6 burners, 5,841 molded Latin CDs, 1,771 music DVDs and 1,310 DVDs.

Puerto Rico

November 29, 2008 – investigators assisted members of the Puerto Rico Police CIC Unit to bust a large manufacturing operation. Investigators teamed up to raid a slew of flea market vendors for manufacturing and attempting to sell counterfeit CDs and DVDs. Officials were able to locate and arrest four individuals for running the illegal operations. Investigators helped seize 36 burners, 2,541 CDRs and 6,066 movie DVDRs.


November 19. 2008 – Officials used the call name “Operation Black Beard” to help raid a large flea market in Hidalgo County. Over 100 officials from local, state and federal agencies used the catchy call name on November 19. After three weeks of undercover surveillance at the flea market, officials gathered a large group to help make the bust. Along with investigators from the Southern Region, members of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office assisted seven other local and federal agencies in uncovering the illegal operation. While strolling the previously surveyed flea market, officials were able to stop the sale of counterfeit CDs and DVDs at 38 separate booths. From those booths, a total of 40 pirates were arrested and taken into custody. Based on information received from the arrested pirates, officials were also able to uncover a nearby residential burner lab. The residence turned up an additional 54 burners, 2,904 CDRs, 10,774 DVDs and $6,430 in cash. Through the success of Operation Black Beard, officials seized a total of 105 burners, 47,801 CDRs and 63,845 DVDs. The total pirated product came to an astonishing $1.5 million worth of counterfeit material.

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