CBP seizes $ 30 million shipment of fake handbags and clothing ahead of holiday

By Susannah Cullinane, CNN

(CNN) – U.S. customs officials seized a container full of more than $ 30 million in fake bags and designer clothes from a Los Angeles port ahead of the holiday season, U.S. customs officials said and border protection.

CBP agents found bags, shirts and pants bearing counterfeit logos including Gucci and Louis Vuitton at the Port of Los Angeles on Nov. 9, CPB said in a Dec. 2 statement.

The 13,586-item container had been shipped from China and would have had an estimated recommended retail price of $ 30,437,775, he said.

CBP said counterfeit products had historically been sold through underground outlets and illegitimate websites.

“The rise of e-commerce provides a safe haven for criminals who can now hide behind seemingly legitimate listings on well-known websites. The sale of counterfeit products multiplies the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers who reinvest the proceeds of these sales in criminal enterprises, ”he said in his press release.

The agency’s Los Angeles field operations director Carlos C. Martel said “substantial law enforcement resources” have been deployed to prevent counterfeit products from entering chains American supply.

Donald R. Kusser, Port of Los Angeles / Long Beach Seaport manager, said counterfeit products were often of poor quality and could be dangerous for consumers.

“Bad actors exploit e-commerce operations by selling counterfeit and dangerous products through online platforms, especially during the holiday season when shoppers are looking for deals,” Kusser said in the statement. “If the price of the product seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

In a statement released in late November, CBP said counterfeit products cost the global economy more than $ 500 billion a year.

“Counterfeit products are a problem all year round, but the increased demand for gifts, household products, virtual learning tools and even health products means that the holiday season is a particularly busy time for children. crooks looking to make a profit by selling goods to unsuspecting consumers, ”he warned.

“This year, due to the global pandemic, the supply chain crisis and changing shopping habits, millions of consumers are purchasing their holiday gifts and other essentials online.”

In its December statement, CPB said its staff seized 26,503 shipments containing counterfeit goods valued at an estimated $ 1.3 billion – if they were genuine goods – during the process. fiscal year 2020.

CBP has recommended that buyers buy directly from trademark holders or authorized retailers, read notices and verify working phone numbers when shopping online.

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