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Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 6:04pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — Special agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security (HSI) announced over $3.5 million worth of counterfeit merchandise has been seized by agents in the past two months.
El Paso ICE agents began targeting international shipments sent to El Paso November 1st, and to-date have seized 8,877 pieces of counterfeit merchandise intended to be sold during the holiday shopping season. The majority of the seized items were shipped from China.
ICE agents say the seized items range from electronics to textiles. Coca-cola speakers, iPod shuffles, Beats headphones, Hermes belts, Cartier wallets, Michael Kors handbags, Burberry scarves, Nike shoes and Android phones were all found during the ongoing operation.
“The associated investigations related to these shipments of illegal products are continuing, as are HSI’s efforts to intercept pirated, shoddy and unsafe merchandise that may pose health and safety risks to unsuspecting consumers,” said Dennis A. Ulrich, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso.
ICE agents say that the weeks leading up to the end of the year, hundreds of stores are flooded with counterfeit merchandise. The most popular counterfeit goods each year include headphones, sports jerseys, shoes, toys, luxury goods, cell phones and electronic accessories.
“Counterfeiters don’t care if their products are well made, or if they make you sick. All these criminals care about is lining their pockets, and funding their criminal enterprises. And they do that by preying on your holiday spirit,” Ulrich said.
HSI encourages the public to report intellectual property rights violations and related information by calling at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by visiting www.ICE.gov/tips. For more information, visit www.ice.gov.