Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assisted their law enforcement partners in executing a state warrant that resulted in the seizure of more than $13 million in counterfeit designer goods.
The Nevada Attorney General’s office, Nevada Highway Patrol, Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department executed the search warrant for violations related to selling, displaying and advertising with false trademarks–a Nevada state felony.
On Aug. 3, HSI special agents seized 12,688 pieces of counterfeit merchandise valued at $13.48 million, an Apple computer, an external hard drive, catalogs listing counterfeit merchandise for sale and numerous business documents. HSI has identified the owners-operators as an out-of-state couple who purchased the business and boutique client list for approximately $500,000 from the associate who resides in Henderson, Nev. No arrests have been made.
According to law enforcement officials, the warehouse was outfitted with two industrial size sewing machines being used to manufacture counterfeit merchandise. Rolls and sheets of material that have the Louis Vuitton trademark printed on them that were imported from China were discovered in the warehouse. The warehouse was stocked with the in-house manufactured finished product, additional counterfeit merchandise imported from China, a computer and weigh stations for postage, and parcel company mailout boxes.
“HSI will continue to focus on keeping counterfeit products off U.S. streets and dismantling the criminal organizations behind such activity,” Francisco Burrola, special agent in charge for HSI Las Vegas, said. “The infringement of intellectual property rights is a growing threat to our economic viability that cannot stand in our communities.”
The items have been placed into evidence in furtherance of a continued investigation.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move.