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Intellectual Property Rights
12/12/2012

HSI, local partners seize $2 million in counterfeit goods from Puerto Rican retailers

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), working jointly with officers from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, seized more than $2 million in counterfeit merchandise during a two-day operation dubbed Forged Dreams. The operation took place Monday and Tuesday with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Puerto Rico Police Department, San Juan Municipal Police, Puerto Rico Department of Treasury and industry representatives.

"The illegal importation and sale of counterfeit goods is a significant problem that affects our economy, impacts American jobs and innovation, puts the public's health and safety at risk and at times threatens our national security," said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge for HSI San Juan. "Consumers should know that if they buy pirated, counterfeit and/or unlicensed products, they are hurting legitimate businesses and they may also be facilitating criminal activity."

During the two-day operation, HSI special agents and partner law enforcement officers impacted 17 retailers of counterfeit goods at prominent locations in the Puerto Rican municipalities of Bayamon, Caguas, Canovanas, Ponce and San Juan. They seized 4,749 counterfeit items infringing on the trademark of more than 38 brands, including Adidas, Armani, Audemars Piguet, Bell & Ross, Breitling, Britto, Bvlgari, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Cartier, Channel, Coach, Corum, Ferrari, Gucci, Hermes, Hublot, Jacob Watch, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Michael Khors, Nautica, Nixon, Oakley, Omega, Pandora, Prada, Puma, Rado, Roger Dubuis, Rolex, Techno Marine, Tiffani, Tous, U-Boat, Ulysse Nardin and Volcom. The total manufacturer's suggested retail value of the seized goods is approximately $2 million.

This investigation was supported by the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in Washington. The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. As a task force, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21-member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and our war fighters. The center is in the midst of conducting Operation Holiday Hoax, an annual enforcement operation targeting the sale of counterfeit and pirated merchandise during the holiday season. HSI and CBP are coordinating with their IPR Center partners to ensure consumers are buying and receiving safe, legitimate products. Specifically, Holiday Hoax targets counterfeit apparel, toys and personal electronics, and pirated CDs /DVDs.

For more information on the IPR Center please visit www.IPRCenter.gov.

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.