23 May 2018Trademarks

ICE seizes counterfeit apparel and electronics

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit has seized nearly 79,000 counterfeit items in Laredo, Texas.

The seized goods included counterfeit apparel and consumer electronics featuring trademarks from brands such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Adidas, Nike, Apple, Samsung and Sony.

If the goods had been sold legitimately, their value would have been an estimated $16 million.

The seizure was announced on Monday, May 21.

HSI seized the items from a public storage facility after it surveyed several individuals transferring boxes from a leased storage unit to vans with Mexican licence plates.

While the facility unit was under surveillance from HSI agents, a large air courier box truck arrived to unload what was believed to be trademark-infringing merchandise. The goods were transferred to pickup trucks and vans.

HSI detained and seized 275 boxes that contained 78,908 items of suspected trademark-infringing products from the storage unit. No one was arrested in connection to the seizure.

The merchandise had been shipped from China.

“Trafficking counterfeit goods poses a triple threat,” said Tim Tubbs, deputy special agent overseeing HSI Laredo.

“Counterfeit merchandise wreaks havoc on local economies, threatens the health and safety of the American public, and funds criminal organisations engaged in other illegal activities.”

The seizure is currently being investigated by HSI, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Mexican Customs and representatives from the trademark industry.

Last fiscal year, HSI and CBP conducted more than 32,000 seizures involving counterfeit goods.

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