Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized counterfeit consumer goods in an air cargo shipment that recently arrived to Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. Had they been authentic, the goods would have been worth an estimated $129,000.
CBP said the incident began when a woman arrived at its air cargo office on Dec. 27 to pick up a shipment manifested as “shoes bags scarfs.” CBP officers examined the shipment of 90 items, including designer brand shoes, handbags, purses, belts and scarves, suspected the merchandise to be counterfeit and detained the shipment.
Working with CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise, officers verified the merchandise as counterfeits through the trademark holder. They then took possession of the shipment, destined to an individual consignee in Woodbridge, Va., on Jan. 17.
“Consumer safety and trademark protection is one of Customs and Border Protection’s top trade enforcement priorities,” said Casey Durst, CBP director of field operations in Baltimore. “Our officers and import specialists will continue to work closely with our trade and consumer safety partners to identify and seize counterfeit merchandise, especially those products that pose potential harm to American consumers.”
CBP protects businesses and consumers through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy and threaten the health and safety of American people, the agency noted.
On an average day in 2017, CBP officers seized $3.3 million worth of products with IPR violations. In fiscal 2017, IPR seizures increased 8 percent to 34,143 compared to the previous year. The total estimated retail value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, decreased to $1.2 billion from $1.38 billion year over year.
As a result of CBP enforcement efforts, ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested 457 people, obtained 288 indictments and received 242 convictions related to intellectual property crimes in 2017.