Thirty felony convictions and more than 700 seizures of counterfeit Cisco network hardware worth an estimated $143 million were the results of a domestic and international enforcement initiative targeting the illegal distribution of counterfeit network hardware made in China.
Called Operation Network Raider, the initiative seeks to protect computer networks and the nation’s IT infrastructure from failures associated with counterfeit network hardware, including network routers, switches, network cards, and devices protecting firewalls and secure communications that have been intercepted domestically and internationally.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer said trafficking in counterfeit computer components is a problem that affects most, if not all, major network equipment manufacturers.
“As this operation demonstrates, sustained cooperation between law enforcement and the private sector is often a critical factor in disrupting and dismantling criminal organizations that threaten our economy and endanger public safety,” he said. “Through the IP Task Force, and with recently announced additional resources, we are intensely focused on bringing to justice those who engage in piracy and counterfeiting.”
To date, ICE and CBP have seized more than 94,000 counterfeit Cisco network components and labels with a total estimated retail value of more than $86 million during the course of the operation.
“These cases involve greedy businessmen hocking counterfeit and substandard hardware to any buyer—whether it could affect the health and safety of others in a hospital setting or the security of our troops on the battlefield,” said John Morton, assistant secretary of homeland security for ICE. “They pose a triple threat to our nation by stealing from our economy, threatening U.S. jobs and potentially putting the safety of our citizens at risk.”
During the last four years as part of Operation Network Raider and Cisco Raider, the FBI has executed 36 search warrants seizing counterfeit network components with an estimated retail value of more than $7 million. CBP and ICE also have made more than 1,300 seizures involving 5.6 million counterfeit semiconductor devices, whose proper functioning is critical to the safe and reliable operation of electronics in the aerospace, military, automotive, communications, industrial and consumer electronics sectors.
“Individuals who break the law by attempting to profit from counterfeit technology do the marketplace great harm,” FBI Assistant Director Gordon M. Snow said. “This case illustrates how effectively the private sector and law enforcement organizations work together to combat fraudulent goods and preserve the integrity of U.S. computer networks and infrastructure.”
International enforcement efforts have resulted in five convictions internationally, including one in Canada and four in China. Foreign investigations have led to seizures in France, China and Canada totaling $17 million worth of counterfeit networking equipment.