$100 Million Bootleg Music Bust

A quarter-million dollars' worth of recording and duplicating equipment and hundreds of thousands of counterfeit compact discs and cassette tapes were just part of the booty seized by New York's Suffolk County police in what has been called the "biggest bust of bootleg music in US history." Twelve people were arrested in raids during the first week of September at warehouses in Manhattan, Queens, and Long Island.

Police found more than 300,000 blank CDs, and millions of CD and cassette labels. Musical genres included "pop and Latino performers," according to police. Recording-industry officials estimated the value of the operation at more than $100 million. The investigation included the use of decoy CDs put into the marketplace so that detectives could find out where they were being duplicated. Police agencies worked in conjunction with the Anti-Piracy Unit of the Recording Industry Association of America.

Suffolk County executive Robert Gaffney praised the police work that led to the seizures and arrests. "This is the biggest seizure of illegal material of this kind in the entire nation," he said. "The discs were being sold by vendors all over the city of New York and Long Island," according to Queens district attorney Richard Brown. He said smashing the operation "helped to make a significant dent in the audio-piracy black market."