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Feds Seized More Than $300K in Counterfeit Nike and Adidas Shoes, Vuitton and Chanel Accessories

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is cracking down on the importation of counterfeit fashion products.

CBP officers assigned to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) cargo operations, in coordination with import specialists at the Apparel, Footwear & Textiles Center of Excellence and Expertise, recently seized 1,755 pairs of Nike and Adidas counterfeit shoes arriving via express air cargo from Hong Kong, the agency announced Wednesday.

The seized items included 597 pairs of counterfeit Nike Air Force One shoes and 918 pairs of other counterfeit Nike shoes, as well as 48 pairs of Adidas Mickey Edition shoes and 192 pairs of other counterfeit Adidas shoes. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $207,000.

CBP import specialists assigned to the Apparel Center confirmed that the shoes were in violation of the Nike and Adidas registered trademarks. CBP officers discovered the goods while conducting an enforcement exam on a shipment of 22 boxes that arrived on July 3. In an attempt to evade detection, smugglers falsely manifested the shipment as “plastic ornament,” CBP said.

“CBP is using all of its authorities to combat trade fraud by detecting high-risk activity, deterring non-compliance and disrupting fraudulent behavior,” Carlos C. Martel, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles, said. “CBP continues using all methods at its disposal, including enhanced targeting and inspection of high-risk imports, to ensure a fair and competitive trade environment.”

Available on illegitimate websites and sold in underground outlets, counterfeit commodities multiply the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers, CBP noted. Consumers are tricked into believing they are buying an original product at a significant discount.

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“LAX CBP officers and Apparel Center import specialists bring a wealth of knowledge, dedication and expertise to their daily duties,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, CBP area port director of the Los Angeles International Airport. “I’m extremely proud of their efforts in stopping illicit shipments and their commitment to protecting the American economy.”

In a separate action, CBP officers in Louisville seized a shipment that contained various counterfeit items valued at more than $115,000. On Aug. 18, they confiscated a shipment that contained counterfeit Louis Vuitton hats, purses and bags. Also inside were other designer items ripping off Gucci, Chanel, Tory Burch, Tiffany and Michael Kors, as well as counterfeit makeup, shoes and electronics.

The parcel contained 55 counterfeit items arriving from Hong Kong and destined for a residence in Saginaw, Texas.

Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of the American people, CBP said. On a typical day in 2019, CBP officers seized $4.3 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations.

CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents seized 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in fiscal year 2019, with an MSRP of more than $1.5 billion.

E-commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value packages imported into the United States. In 2019, 144 million express shipments and 463 million international mail shipments contained counterfeits. Over 90 percent of all intellectual property seizures occur in the international mail and express environments.

The People’s Republic of China (mainland China and Hong Kong) remained the primary source economy for seized counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for 83 percent of all IPR seizures and 92 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.