Arizona task force seizes over $10 million in counterfeit designer-brand apparel
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NOGALES, Ariz. — In a joint effort, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Aug. 6, seized nearly $10.5 million in counterfeit apparel.
HSI Nogales Task Force officers seized 6,628 pieces of attire, with an MSRP value of $10,483,082.
In April, the Nogales Trade Enforcement Coordination Center (TECC) 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, Arizona. The inspection resulted in the discovery 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.
“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,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge, for HSI Phoenix. “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.”
Nogales TECC seized the following articles of apparel following confirmation by the trademark holders that the merchandise bearing their trademark is counterfeit:
- Chanel – 1,496 dresses and 1,152 blouses (MSRP $8,484,032)
- Gucci – 1,080 blouses (MSRP $702,000)
- Louis Vuitton – 634 blouses (MSRP $507,200)
- Burberry – 1,080 shirts (MSRP $421,200)
- Dior – 600 shirts (MSRP $354,000)
- Disney – 586 shirts (MSRP $14,650)
The items have been placed into evidence in furtherance of a continued investigation.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (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.
HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.