Spanish police have arrested 75 people and smashed a crime syndicate thought to be responsible for shifting more than one million illegal CD-Rs and DVD-Rs each month.

MADRID -- Spanish police have arrested 75 people and smashed a crime syndicate thought to be responsible for shifting more than one million illegal CD-Rs and DVD-Rs each month.

Police seized 69 people on Oct. 26 and six more today, in what IFPI describes as the country's biggest-ever anti-piracy operation. Those arrested were involved in the illegal production, storage and retail distribution of music and film discs, the IFPI says.

Most of the 23 raids were in Madrid and the Mediterranean port of Alicante. Illegal material seized included more than 60,000 CD-Rs, 50,000 DVD-Rs, 130,000 inlay cards, and 200 CD drives. The product included recordings by Spanish and well-known international artists.

IFPI chairman/CEO John Kennedy comments, "we are very encouraged by this operation, and hope it will have a positive impact on Spanish music. Spain was once a thriving legitimate music market, but is now known for the most serious piracy problems in Europe."

Spanish interior minister José Antonio Alonso describes the raids as the most important operation against industrial piracy undertaken yet by Spanish police. He told a press conference that in the past 18 months, pirates had flooded the Spanish market with 50 million illegal CDs or DVDs.

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