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Intellectual Property Rights
02/04/2014

$1.5 million in counterfeits seized in Cincinnati as part of Operation Team Player

$1.5 million in counterfeits seized in Cincinnati as part of Operation Team Player - Photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
$1.5 million in counterfeits seized in Cincinnati as part of Operation Team Player - Photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
CINCINNATI — Over the last week, customs inspectors from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations seized $1.5 million in counterfeit NFL merchandise at the DHL air cargo facility.

The seizures are the latest to be announced as part of Operation Team Player. On Jan. 30, HSI, CBP and the NFL announced more than $21.6 million in seizures leading up to the Super Bowl.

"Working with our officers, agents and import specialists, CBP prevented the influx of more than 33,000 counterfeit NFL items worth $1.5 million, from entering our country," said Augustine Moore, acting director of field operations in Chicago. "It's this level of teamwork and commitment that ensures the American consumer is getting the genuine products they are paying for."

"These significant seizures speak to the real power of collaboration," said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. "Working side-by-side with CBP and the NFL, we can continue to disrupt the flow of counterfeit NFL goods into the marketplace and protect American consumers and brand holders."

Team Player began in June and targeted international shipments of counterfeit merchandise as it entered the United States. Authorities identified warehouses, stores, flea markets, online vendors and street vendors selling counterfeit game-related sportswear and tickets throughout the country.

Fake jerseys, ball caps, t-shirts, jackets and other souvenirs are among the counterfeit merchandise and clothing confiscated by teams of special agents and officers from ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), CBP, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and state and local police departments around the country – all in partnership with the NFL and other major sports leagues.

Operation Team Player was spearheaded by the IPR Center in coordination with the Department of Justice's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and three U.S. Attorneys' Offices, including the District of South Carolina, District of Colorado and the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety and the U.S. economy.

To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.