In a joint task force operation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) seized nearly $10.5 million in counterfeit apparel on Aug. 6.
In April, the Nogales Trade Enforcement Coordination Center initiated an operation targeting trade exports from China, Panama and Vietnam. Three months later, an in-bond shipment from China was referred for inspection at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Ariz.
CBP said the inspection resulted in the discovery of 6,628 pieces of apparel bearing protected trademarks from Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Dior and Disney. Many of the products appeared to be poor quality with inconsistencies and stitching irregularities, so the merchandise was detained pending authentication and valuation from the trademark holders, officials said.
“This significant seizure is attributable to the dedicated work of our law enforcement professionals who worked together and interdicted a large quantity of counterfeit goods at the border,” Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix, said. “Together with our Nogales Trade Enforcement Coordination Center law enforcement partners, HSI will continue to engage in an unrelenting pursuit of individuals who attempt to profit from the illegal trafficking of counterfeit products.”
The Nogales Trade Enforcement Coordination Center seized articles of apparel following confirmation by the trademark holders that the merchandise bearing their trademark is counterfeit. This included 1,496 counterfeit Chanel dresses and 1,152 blouses with an estimated retail value of $8.48 million, 1,080 fake Gucci blouses valued at $702,000, 634 bogus Louis Vuitton blouses worth $507,200, 1,080 counterfeit Burberry shirts valued at $421,200, 600 fake Dior shirts worth $354,000 and 586 Disney shirts valued at $14,650.
The items have been placed into evidence while the investigation continues, according to CBP.