This shipment of counterfeit designer merchandise originated in China and was destined for McKinney, Tex.
CBP officers performed a thorough examination of the shipment of 148 boxes manifested as “Ladies Sweater Ladies Sweatpants” that yielded a treasure trove of poorly packaged footwear, handbags and textiles bearing protected trademarks such as Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Adidas’ Yeezy designer footwear line. Officers suspected that the imported merchandise may have been counterfeit due to its poor-quality workmanship, packaging inconsistent with genuine merchandise and previous experience with similar products.
“Criminal organizations are well aware that consumers will be shopping online for the best deals this holiday season,” said Timothy M. Lemaux, port director of Dallas. “Our officers will take every opportunity to protect the American consumer and we caution those consumers that if an online deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”
CBP worked in cooperation with Consumer Products and Mass Merchandise, Centers for Excellence and Expertise Import Division in determining that the items were counterfeit and infringing on protected trademarks. CBP provided the importer an opportunity to provide documentation of applicable licenses or agreements permitting the use of those registered trademarks prior to the seizure.
In a separate incident in Dallas, CBP agriculture specialists found three pairs of boots crafted from sea turtles and an Amazon-dwelling freshwater arapaima fish, which are violations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). A belt made from sea turtles was also found in the shipment.
“It is not surprising the various items our officers and agriculture specialists encounter when examining international cargo,” Lemaux said. “In this year alone, our officers and agriculture specialists found a growing number of marijuana shipments, luxury counterfeit footwear and now boots made from endangered species. Regardless of the item, if it is illegal, restricted or prohibited, then our teams of officers and agriculture specialists are on the hunt for it.”
In this instance, CBP’s agriculture specialists coordinated with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, which confirmed the shipment of goods were CITES schedule I and II violations, as well as a violation of the Lacey Act. They then seized the items.
By the end of the last fiscal year, CBP recorded more than 23,700 seizures of counterfeit goods, with an estimated value of $1.2 billion.