The EU’s anti-fraud office (OLAF) helped seize nearly €5 million worth of fake shampoo in Colombia and Mexico – products that were likely headed to the European consumer market – after OLAF took part in an international operation to stop illicit trade from China, the country who is made counterfeit shampoo.

OLAF had reportedly closely monitored the shipment of 400 tonnes of shampoo products from their place of origin in China to unspecified locations in both Columbia and Mexico. The seizure of the shipment took place between January 31- February 8 after information reached the EU’anti-fraud watchdog office about the dismantling of an illegal factory in China that produced counterfeit shampoo products.

At the time, a large cargo of shampoo had already left the factory by sea and followed a route that saw it stop in China and Korea, where it loaded and unloaded cargo onto other vessels – before making its way to Central and South America.

The operation was carried out using OLAF’s specialised monitoring software that gathers real-time data from vessels and ports from around the world. When the authorities concluded that the shipment risked being diverted before reaching its end destination in Venezuela, Colombian and Mexican law enforcement officials were contacted, and OLAF recommended that a search and seizure operation needed to take place.

According to the Colombian customs officials that took part in the operation, counterfeit trademarks of Dove, Head & Shoulders, and Pantene products were found during the raid.