Police raids in Belfast, Antrim and Down have been linked to the seizure of £100,000 worth of counterfeit goods at a summer fair.
Police searched two streets in east Belfast
Police said the searches were part of continuing investigations into organised crime.
Tuesday's operation follows the seizure of counterfeit goods at the Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, County Antrim, in August.
Searches took place at two streets in east Belfast and the police arrested two 16-year-olds and three adults.
Chief Inspector David Wallace said: "Five people were arrested in connection with the production and supply of counterfeit goods.
"We aren't talking about...one or two counterfeit CDs, that's not what it's been about."
Some people expressed their anger at what they described as an "exceptionally heavy police presence" as a teenage girl was arrested.
Some politicians also criticised the handling of the operation.
Other anti-counterfeiting operations took place in Larne in County Antrim and Bangor, County Down.
The police said they were investigating organised crime
Ulster Unionist representative Michael Copeland said: "We had a shooting incident around the corner here, where five officers were available to attend.
"This morning we have a sizeable number of officers - I have been led to believe that it could be as many as 50 officers involved in this operation for fake CDs.
"It does strike me that the law is being applied selectively."
DUP councillor Harry Toan said: "The police have to be supported in doing their duty.
"But to bring so many police in for what is a relatively small amount of money and criminality - if that is the case.
"If it was a murder, there would be less police here."