Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) on Tuesday completed counting the counterfeit items seized in Laredo in June which totaled more than 181,000 items. HSI estimates the street value of the seized items at more than $42.9 million, which is HSI’s largest counterfeit seizure in Laredo, Texas.
In mid-June 2018, HSI special agents conducted surveillance over a three-day period and observed boxes containing suspected counterfeit merchandise being moved. During the enforcement action, HSI discovered that all shipping labels on all the boxes depicted fictitious delivery addresses in Laredo. HSI confirmed the boxes contained counterfeit merchandise and detained the boxes. HSI eventually seized 795 boxes containing 181,615 pieces of trademark-infringed merchandise, which included many counterfeited brands, such as the following names: Adidas, Apple, Calvin Klein, Casio, Chanel, Coach, Diesel, Fendi, Gucci, Hugo Boss, LG, Luis Vuitton, Mark Kors, Nike, Rolex, Samsung, Sony, Under Armor, Yves St. Laurent; and DC and Marvel Comics.
Through its investigation, HSI discovered that the Laredo-based criminal organization was the same organization that agents identified from a separate May 2018 counterfeit merchandise seizure. During the May 2018 seizure, HSI seized $16.1 million in trademark-infringed merchandise that was destined for illegal export to Mexico. Taken together, the two seizures represent $59 million in seized counterfeit merchandise, more than 260,000 pieces of garments, consumer electronics, cosmetics and jewelry. This HSI-led investigation is being assisted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Field Operations, Mexican Customs and representatives from the trademark industry. To date, no criminal charges have been filed in this case. This investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information about the sale of counterfeit items can submit a tip at IPRCenter.gov. Reports can also be made to the HSI tip line at 866.DHS-2-ICE. [Source: ICE Newsroom]