Over 100 law enforcement officers in the San Francisco Bay area and Austin, Tex., simultaneously raided illegal CD and DVD plants Oct. 6, making the first arrests after a two-year undercover investigation.
As part of Operation ReMaster, the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) and the FBI targeted eight locations involved in the large-scale illegal replication and distribution with a combined capacity to produce, package and ship more than 12 million discs annually, with a street value in excess of $120 million.
Arrested on federal warrants for criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy were Yaobin Zhai, 33, of Fremont, Calif., the co-owner of Magic Media and BDG Publishing in Hayward, Calif.; Ye Teng Wen aka Michael Wen, 29, and Hao Ho aka Kevin He, 30, of Union City, Calif., the co-owners of Media Art Technology in Hayward and Union City. The maximum penalties under are five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
Agents from the Sacramento Valley High Tech Task Force and Secret Service also executed search warrants on California wholesale distribution centers in Stockton and San Jose in a parallel investigation dubbed Operation Buccaneer. These raids were coordinated between the two task forces as part of the statewide effort to combat piracy.
Participating in the raids were agents from the REACT, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Secret Service with additional assistance from eight local police departments. The Recording Industry Assn. of America and the Motion Picture Assn. of America provided technical support during the investigation and raids.
The on-going investigation has identified targets in the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles and other parts of the United States. Due to the number of subjects and businesses involved, the searches and arrests will be conducted in phases.
Additional searches, arrests, and indictments are pending.