U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers and Import Specialist seized 138 shipments of counterfeit products during the month of January, including stacks of fake $100 bills. The estimated value of all the counterfeit products seized is $4.2 million, the agency confirmed.
“CBP alone cannot stem the tide of counterfeit and pirated goods,” said Leida Colón, the CBP’s assistant director of field operations for trade.
“All private-sector stakeholders have critical roles to play and must adopt identified best practices, while redoubling efforts to police their own businesses and supply chains,” she said.
Among the bootleg merchandise CBP officers seized are watches, jewelry, bags, clothing and sunglasses that were illegally using known brands such as Cartier, Adidas, Rolex, Dolce & Gabana, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pandora, Tous and Nike, among many others, the agency confirmed
CBP import specialists also intercepted a mail package coming from China declared as “Cards.”
“A full examination by CBP Officers revealed that the parcel contained counterfeit $100 U.S. bills,” the agency stated.
“The rapid growth of e-commerce platforms has helped fuel the growth of counterfeit and pirated goods into a half trillion-dollar industry,” the CBP said.
“This illicit trade has an enormous impact on the American economy by eroding the competitiveness of American workers, manufacturers and innovation,” it added in a statement.
These goods also represent a national security threat as they may be introduced into critical supply chains or used to generate revenue for transnational criminal organizations, it added.
CBP has an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program, which targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR goods.
Individuals and organizations that traffic with counterfeit goods may be subject to criminal prosecution.
On Jan. 16, the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico convicted and organization smuggling counterfeit and misbranded health products. A joint effort by CBP, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Food a Drug Administration (FDA) resulted in the discovery of an illicit procurement organization introducing counterfeit prophylactics and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce operating from Manatí, the agency confirmed.
The CBP San Juan area ort seized more than a million counterfeit and misbranded health products from this network, which used multiple social media platforms for advertising and distribution.
Among the products seized CBP fund items containing Sildenafil, used to treat erectile dysfunction, and counterfeit lipsticks containing a chemical found in pesticides, prohibited by the FDA.
During Fiscal 2019, CBP trade operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands generated more than 4,500 trade seizures — 3,886 of which were IPR related. The estimated value of the IPR-related seized items is more than $38 million.