$4 million in fake designer goods seized at L.A.-Long Beach ports
Federal authorities in Los Angeles have seized more than $4 million in fake designer jeans, apparel and shoes as part of an international effort cracking down on counterfeit goods, they said Thursday.
From Nov. 1 to Dec. 16, agents and local police seized more than $80 million in counterfeit goods in the U.S., Mexico and Korea in Operation Holiday Hoax, officials said.
The merchandise included toys, cellphones, DVDs, perfume, wallets, computer software and clothes, according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which organized the operation.
Locally, the largest seizure grew from the interception at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach of a 40-foot shipping container from China with 966 cartons of counterfeit True Religion jeans and North Face and Gucci clothing, many of which bore the emblem, “Made in the USA/Designed in the USA.”
Further investigation led agents last week to a Santa Fe Springs warehouse, where they found 246 cartons of counterfeit Nike shoes worth $430,000, according to customs enforcement.
The products were brought in by a Chinese organization that “smuggles goods into the U.S. and distributes them throughout the U.S.,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Southern California. “It’s got tentacles.”
Arnold said the market for counterfeit goods, coming mostly from Asia, is immense.
Los Angeles, with its ports and vast consumer market, he said, is a “gateway for counterfeit goods from Asia,” Arnold said.
“Because these are criminal organizations, you don’t know what the revenues from this is being used for,” he said.
-- Sam Quinones