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A curious thing happened this Tuesday afternoon across the street from the Adams Morgan Safeway: the Latin music stopped.
CDs were seized as evidence when D.C. police shut down three street vendors allegedly hocking counterfeit wares on Columbia Road. Recording-industry investigators and a dozen or so D.C. cops boxed up the hundreds of counterfeit discs and carted the plastic bins and cardboard boxes away.
According to Andy Pappas, an investigator with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the bust had been in the works for weeks.
“We identified some individuals down here after some complaints from the citizens that individuals were selling counterfeit CDs and DVDs…and we came down here probably about two weeks ago and verified that in fact that was going on,” Pappas says. He says that D.C. police agreed to assist him. “Basically what you see now is the removal of all the counterfeit CDs and DVDs and those individuals being arrested for selling them.”
This is hardly the first time RIAA investigators have teamed up with police to shut down an alleged bootlegger. In 2004, Baltimore city police raided Joe’s Record Paradise in Rockville based on an RIAA spy’s affidavit.
As for the 100s of CDs and DVDs that were confiscated, some counterfeiter’s long hours of bootlegging will be for naught. The discs will all be destroyed.
“Depending on where we are,” Pappas says, “[a counterfeit disc] either gets incinerated or there’s actually a mulching machine that tears it all up.”