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Suspected DVD, CD counterfeiting outfit in Fort Worth uncovered

Police are investigating what they believe may be a clandestine DVD- and CD-counterfeiting operation in South Fort Worth.

Officers were alerted to a house in the 3100 block of South Adams Street by a neighbor who said it had attracted a suspicious amount of traffic at odd hours, said Gil Torrez, an investigator with the Recording Industry Association of America who was on scene assisting Fort Worth police.

Narcotics officers were hauling boxes out of the house for hours with labels indicating they held DVDs and other bulk material along with large color printers, file cabinets and towers designed for mass duplication outfitted with multiple CD and DVD burners.

Torrez, a former FBI agent, said the operation appears to be equipped to produce large quantities from the roughly 1,500-square-foot house in the South Hemphill Heights neighborhood to sell to mid-level distributors who would then sell the items.

"With over 100 going all night you can crank out quite a bit of counterfeit product – both in CDs and DVDs," Torrez said.

The operation consisted of at least 114 burners for CDs and DVDs and included equipment to create packaging for the counterfeit items, making it what investigators consider a "full-service operation," Torrez said.

Typically, he said, officers seize less than 10 burners in a bust.

He said some of the counterfeit products seized included items that weren't yet available for retail sale, such as a copy of the movie Hancock, which was released in theatres July 2.

Three people, who police haven't yet identified, have been arrested and Torrez said they've been arrested on suspicion of similar offenses in the past.

"You can make more money than selling some drugs," Torrez said. "And the vigilance is lower."

Statistics from the RIAA indicate the profit margin could be as high as 900 percent for similar counterfeiting operations.

Two men who police led from the house in handcuffs didn't answer a reporter's questions.

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