This investigation represents the largest national enforcement action of its kind targeting this type of illegal activity.
The search warrants were executed at businesses, storefronts, and residences… at locations associated with subjects who are allegedly involved in the direct importation, installation, sale, and distribution of the devices that are of foreign manufacture and smuggled into the United States.
Said Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
Illicit devices like the ones targeted today are created with one purpose in mind, subverting copyright protections. These crimes cost legitimate businesses billions of dollars annually and facilitate multiple other layers of criminality, such as smuggling, software piracy and money laundering.
While ICE did not release specifics on those targeted, it said the investigation was initiated by the agency’s Cleveland, Ohio office.
Meanwhile, video game industry officials lauded the bust. ESA president Mike Gallagher said via press release:
Plain and simple, selling and distributing products to illegally bypass game consoles’ piracy protections is a crime with real-life consequences. This is not a game; we’re talking jail time. Enforcement initiatives of this scope send a clear message to both the public and pirate community that this illegal activity will not be tolerated.