RIAA Anti-Piracy Seizure Information
October 26, 2006 – Twenty-seven burners were seized after police in Los Angeles, CA responded to a burglary call. Three male suspects were still in the unit when the officers arrived. RIAA/MPAA investigators were called to the scene after being advised that the police officers made an arrest of piracy suspects. During the investigation into the unit, deputies found thousands of pirated DVD movies and replicating equipment and associated supplies. After confirming that both the CDRs and DVDRs were indeed pirated they were confiscated and the suspects were arrested on felony piracy charges. Deputies recovered three DVD towers with a total of nine trays in each tower. There were also approximately 4,600 DVD movie inserts, 830 empty DVD cases, 800 blank DVD-R discs on spindles and several boxes of UPS, USPS and FedEx shipping cartoons. A total of 11,831 DVD movies in thin plastic DVD cases with inserts depicting movies and a box of 177 music CDRs were also seized.
October 22, 2006 – In Glendora, California law enforcement officers and RIAA officials arrested two female suspects at different booths at a swap meet in Glendora. 100 CDS, 318 CDRs, 34 music videos and 172 DVDs were seized along with the arrests.
October 23, 2006 – Atlanta PD responded to an alarm call at a clothing store after an early morning break-in. When arriving on the scene and inspecting the store the officers found a false wall that led them to the backroom where counterfeit merchandise was found. It appeared that there had been an onsite burning lab, but the equipment was now missing. After securing a search warrant and contacting RIAA officials, police officers returned to the location with the warrant and discovered the counterfeit merchandise was still there. The owner was called onto the scene and arrested. In addition, marijuana was recovered from within the store. Seized in this action were 7,865 counterfeit CDs and 2,849 counterfeit DVDs.
October 11, 2006 – Suspects working in two units in a warehouse in Clayton County, Georgia were discovered by SWAT team members along with the Atlanta PD, ATF, FBI, RIAA and members of the HIDTA taskforce who made a dynamic entry utilizing flash-bangs and a ram to audibly and visually impair the suspects. However, even the grand entrance had no effect on some of the eight suspects, they knew they were about to go down with some serious piracy charges and they were not about to go easily. In one of the units, five individuals attempted to hide under the floor in a trap door that looked like it was created just for the purpose of evading the police. One additional suspect took off running and gained roof access leading to a rooftop chase before he was apprehended. After months of undercover purchases and surveillance work, task force members moved in for the big event with search warrants for two units in the warehouse complex. After gaining entry and rounding up the suspects, two of whom were outside in nearby parked cars, a total of eight men were arrested. The men were then brought outside to be questioned and photographed, none of whom wanted to cooperate with the police. In the first of the two units searched over 16,916 CDRs, 3,311 DVDRs, one burner and several thousand pieces of artwork and raw material (4,200 Blank CD cases, 4,000 CD trays, 2,800 Blank DVD cases, 9,000 plastic wrap sleeves, 5,000 labels/artwork) were uncovered. An additional $1,800 dollars was uncovered within a brick inside one of the unit’s walls. In the second of the two units 5,290 Urban CDRs, 3,200 MPAA DVDRs and 32 burners were located. Besides typical music and movie pirated materials agents and officers also uncovered counterfeit Lacoste and Ralph Lauren shirts, handbags, watches, football jerseys, pornographic movies, jeans and other types of apparel. Officers also found handwritten notes on what needed to be re-burned to keep the stock full, and purchase orders that still had to be shipped out to customers. Cocaine and a wad of cash were confiscated from a suspect found outside near his car.
October 13, 2006 – A police officer with Prince George’s Country PD contacted an RIAA Washington, DC investigator to speak about a suspect selling product out of his car at a gas station in Chillum, MD according to a reliable source. After investigating the source’s claims and setting up shop across the street from the gas station to observe, the investigator witnessed transactions from the trunk of the vehicle. The officer promptly came down to confront the suspect with the investigator and upon approaching they saw counterfeit items in plain view in the trunk of the suspect’s car. The suspect was arrested, he refused to cooperate or speak to investigators. Removed from his person was a pair of brass knuckles and a knife, 535 counterfeit CDs and 210 counterfeit DVDs were also seized.
October 11, 2006 – Information was received about subjects selling counterfeit music in the parking lot of a town center in Bowie, MD. One of the subjects was a security guard who always packed a gun. After setting up surveillance and observing the vehicle engaging in several transactions involving suspected counterfeit items, nearby beat officers were contacted and they approached the subjects. After being confronted, the vehicle was searched revealing a Ruger 9mm handgun and a small amount of marijuana in addition to 383 counterfeit CDs and 276 counterfeit DVDs. The driver was placed under arrest and the passenger was released at the scene.
October 10, 2006 – A source informed RIAA central region investigators about a subject who was selling counterfeits from his home and was planning on selling more that evening. Investigators were also warned to watch out for the gun he always carries for protection. Upon setting up surveillance with the Prince George’s County PD Violent Crime Task Force, the investigators observed the suspect loading boxes into his vehicle before heading out for his ‘evening on the town’. The officers were informed that the vehicle was on the move and shortly thereafter a traffic stop was initiated where they saw the product inside the vehicle and arrested the subject. A Taurus 380 cal. handgun was recovered as well as 312 counterfeit CDs and 157 counterfeit DVDs.
October 10, 2006 – While conducting a plain view seizure with law enforcement agents in Sanford, North Carolina, RIAA field investigators from the Southern Region located a suspicious-looking vending machine in one of the stores. Upon closer inspection of the machine, it appeared that the ‘prizes’ inside were unauthorized sound recordings (CDRs). The game was based upon the premise of randomly winning a prize after inserting money into the coin slot. After locating a telephone number on the machine and finding the name of the business associated more investigation ensued. On October 10, just a few months later the owner of the machine submitted to a voluntary surrender agreement where he was adamant about turning over all illicit products, 875 Latin genre pirated CDRs in all.