INDIANAPOLIS — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized two shipments containing 362 counterfeit designer watches on Wednesday night, Sept. 4.
The items were deemed counterfeit by CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise, the agency’s trade experts, and if genuine would have had a combined MSRP of over $2 million.
Both shipments were arriving from China. When CBP officers examined the shipment to determine the admissibility of the goods, they found over 360 watches with logos of designer brands like Rolex, Michael Kors, Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci, and Pandora.
The items were poorly packaged, constructed and missing serial numbers among other noted inconsistencies from genuine products. CBP officers seized the watches for infringing on the designer’s protected trademarks.
According to CBP’s release, the shipment was heading to a residence in Mesquite, Texas.
“Seizures, like these, will ensure inferior, often dangerous goods, do not fall into the hands of everyday Americans,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations, Chicago Field Office.
“Counterfeit jewelry is often forged with lead and other hazardous materials unbeknownst to the buyer. These seizures protect the rights of the intellectual property rights holder, the health and safety of Americans, and the reputation of online marketplaces involved in these transactions.”
The illicit trafficking of counterfeit goods offers criminals a complementary source of income and a way they can launder money. Additionally, monies received from the sale of counterfeit products can be channeled toward the further production of fake goods or other illicit activities.
CBP said counterfeiting is a highly profitable business with many criminals relying on high demand for cheap goods with low production costs.
During fiscal year 2022, CBP seized over 24.5 million shipments of Intellectual Property Rights violations which would have been worth just shy of $3 billion, had the goods been genuine.
CBP encourages anyone with information about counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States to submit an e-Allegation. Any e-allegation tips on violations of trade laws or regulations in the U.S. will be anonymous.