American officials have seized some $8 million in high-quality counterfeit US bills made in Peru, reports the Los Angeles Times. South American raids have uncovered another $18 million. The massive number of fake bills costs businesses and individuals millions, and threatens to undermine confidence in US currency, warn officials. "It's a form of economic terrorism," said a Secret Service agent.
Early this year, US officials launched a special task force to train Peruvian police and bankers to identify and capture counterfeiters. Columbia used to print about 70% of fake dollars passed in the states until a similar crackdown cut production to about 5%—which still accounts for millions of fake bills. Police action may have driven some Columbian counterfeiters to Peru. Human "mules" bring the money across borders, often with it strapped to their bodies.