Customs officials in Ireland broke up a counterfeit vodka operation that was managed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that is estimated to have been a multimillion euro moonshine operation.
In a raid by Custom agents, nearly 1110,000 bottles caps, 400,000 fake labels of popular vodka brands, 500 cardboard boxes and a bottling plant was seized in May 2014.
Intelligence officials state that the IRA is potentially bringing in fake alcohol from Eastern Europe, and is filling up empty bottles with counterfeit alcohol. IRA members collected empty spirit bottles from bars and pubs across Ireland and bring them back to the operations center. There, the bottles are washed and the new labels and bottle tops are attached. The new fake bottles of vodka are then sold to bar owners and vendors across Ireland and the United Kingdom. The moonshine bottles, known as Provo vodka, is readily available across Northern Ireland and is often sold at places where smuggled cigarettes are also available.
The vodka labels discovered by security officials included Smirnoff and Stolichnaya.
Source: Jim Cusack, “IRA moonshine operation smashed by Customs officers,” Independent, May 25, 2014.