Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas special agents seized $1.3 million in counterfeit goods during the First Monday Trade Days market on April 2 in Canton, Texas.
More than 1,000 items were confiscated, including several boxes of luxury designer goods such as high-end purses, caps, shoes and sunglasses bearing fake brand names that included Gucci, Louis Vuitton and YSL.
“Those who attempt to profit from the selling of counterfeit items will face consequences for their illegal actions,” Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge, HSI Dallas, said. “The infringement of intellectual property rights is a growing threat to our economic viability that cannot stand.”
The Canton Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division and industry experts with Investigation Services Company LLC each played a critical role in supporting the seizure. The Van Zandt County district attorney Tonda Curry will handle the prosecution. Felony charges are pending for the individuals allegedly selling the counterfeit goods.
“Buying and selling counterfeit items poses a significant threat to our local economy and the dedicated vendors who come to Canton for legitimate business ventures,” Curry said. “We will work relentlessly with our federal law enforcement partners to prosecute anyone who sells fake items at our trade days, having no tolerance for those who disregard laws related to trademark infringement.”
HSI focuses on keeping counterfeit products off U.S. streets and dismantling the criminal organizations behind such activity. The proliferation of counterfeit goods is increasing at an alarming rate, often associated with organized crime and groups that pose a risk to public safety and national security, the agency said.
HSI protects legitimate trade and commercial systems by investigating intellectual property crime, combatting trade fraud and preventing the illicit proliferation of sensitive U.S. technology and weapons. The HSI-led Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center, working collaboratively with its public and private sector partners, stands at the forefront of the U.S. government’s response to combating global intellectual property theft and enforcing intellectual properties rights violations.