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Intellectual Property Rights
12/17/2013

HSI El Paso seizes nearly $3.5 million in counterfeit merchandise

International shipments targeted during 'Operation Holiday Hoax'

HSI El Paso seizes nearly $3.5 million in counterfeit merchandise
HSI El Paso seizes nearly $3.5 million in counterfeit merchandise
EL PASO, Texas – Within the past two months, special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) have locally seized almost 9,000 items of counterfeit merchandise valued at nearly $3.5 million.

Since Nov. 1, HSI special agents targeted international shipments delivered to El Paso during the year’s busiest shopping season. The majority of these shipments were from China.

To date, special agents assigned to HSI’s Commercial Fraud Group have seized 8,877 counterfeit items intended to be sold for the holiday season. Among the seized merchandise are the following counterfeit items: Coca-Cola speakers, IPod shuffles, Beats headphones, Hermes belts, Cartier wallets, Michael Kors handbags, Burberry scarves, Nike shoes and Android smartphones.

"Our investigations related to these shipments of counterfeit merchandise are continuing, as are HSI’s efforts to intercept pirated, shoddy and unsafe items that may pose health and safety risks to unsuspecting consumers," said Dennis A. Ulrich, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso. "Counterfeiters don’t care if their products are unsafe, or if they make you sick. These criminals only care about lining their pockets, and funding their criminal enterprises. They do that by preying on your holiday spirit," he said.

During the weeks leading up to the end of the year, the market floods with counterfeit products being sold at stores, on street corners and online. Some of the most popular counterfeit products seized each year include: headphones, sports jerseys, shoes, toys, luxury goods, cell phones and electronic accessories. Once HSI special agents determine items are counterfeit, they seize the merchandise. However, in many instances, the damage to the consumer and the economy has already been done.

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.