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Customs Intercepts Counterfeit Luxury Haul Worth $1.88 Million

Customs officials nabbed a major fake fashion haul last month.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists assigned to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) cargo operations seized 3,524 counterfeit YSL, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Versace, Gucci, Fendi, Nike, Under Armor, Adidas, Cartier, Rolex, Dior, Pandora, Casio, Michael Kors, Tiffany & Co., Burberry and Christian Louboutine luxury goods products arriving via express air cargo from Hong Kong.

The seized items included handbags, shoes, watches, sunglasses, T-shirts, purses, sandals, gym bags, dresses, belts and ball caps. In the same shipment, CBP officers discovered and seized 2,160 pills of Sildenafil and 4,500 pills of Ranitidine Hydrochloride. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1.88 million.

CBP officers discovered the counterfeit goods while conducting an enforcement exam on a shipment of 99 boxes weighing 3,827 pounds that arrived on June 25. The shipment, falsely manifested as “Ladies Tops Storage Bag Empty,” was a clear attempt to circumvent U.S. law.

“Trade in illegitimate goods is associated with smuggling and other criminal activities, and often funds criminal enterprises,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. “CBP officers and import specialists remain vigilant in detecting, intercepting and seizing illegitimate products and enforcing all trade laws.”

Consumers are tricked into believing they are buying an original product at a significant discount, Martel said.

“Through their diligence and attention to detail, CBP officers and import specialists, prevented a significant smuggling attempt,” LaFonda Sutton-Burke, CBP LAX port director, said. “Their dedication and commitment to the mission of CBP is vital in stopping counterfeit goods from entering the U.S. commerce.”

Nationwide in fiscal year 2019, CBP seized 27,599 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to nearly $1.5 billion from over $1.4 billion the prior year.

Watches and jewelry topped the list for number of seizures, with 4,242 representing 15 percent of all seizures. Watches and jewelry continued as the top product seized by total MSRP with seizures valued at over $687 million, representing 44 percent of the total. Wearing apparel and accessories are second with seizures estimated to be valued at more than $226 million.