Spanish police have dismantled an organised crime gang that sold over a million pounds worth of counterfeit luxury wine with fake labels for up to 1,300 GBP a bottle.
During the police sting, named Tag, officers arrested four people in charge of producing and selling fake bottles of exclusive luxury wine brands.
The police investigation started in October 2017 after the manager of a prestigious wine brand in the capital of Madrid reported his suspicions to police about a website he believed were selling fake bottles of their product.
Police say they inspected the website and confirmed it was selling fake bottles of luxury wine, some for more than 1,900 euros (1,693 GBP) a bottle.
The gang even had a contact inside a factory whose job it was to steal details on how to copy the corks used by the VIP wine makers.
The wine was then sold in restaurants and on an international website.
The investigation found that the gang would buy much cheaper wine with similar properties and from the same area, and put it in the bottles with fake labels.
The operation included six simultaneous searches of premises in various Spanish provinces in Madrid, A Coruna and Malaga, in the centre, north-west and south of Spain respectively.
Four people have been charged and four more are being investigated for crimes of organised gang activity, crimes against industrial property and public health, fraud and money laundering.
Three of the searches were carried out in the houses of the gang leaders and the other three in their offices, one of which was inside a restaurant.
Officers seized 1,600 fake brand labels, 28 fake bottles of wine, stamps, tools, boxes with the brand names and IT equipment, among other things.
According to the police report, they also found documentation which recorded the sale of more than 1,500 wine bottles of different fake brands from as far back 2014 with a value of 1.5 million euros (1,337,096 GBP).