HSI and the Attorney General’s office executed a search warrant Thursday at Fashion Express, located on Airline Highway, following an HSI investigation that included multiple undercover buys of counterfeit merchandise. HSI served at least two warning letters to the business regarding the illegal sale of counterfeit merchandise prior to Thursday’s seizure operation.
"Criminals who sell counterfeit products are parasites on the legitimate businesses that drive our economy," said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer Jr. "The profits of black-market counterfeit sales are routinely diverted to support further criminal activity such as drug trafficking, money laundering and even potential terrorism." Parmer oversees a five-state area of responsibility including Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Some of the counterfeit trademarked items seized during the operation include Michael Kors, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Coach and Polo merchandise. While searching the premises, HSI special agents also discovered thousands of counterfeit name-brand tags and labels that indicate counterfeit merchandise was being assembled inside the store.
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 and the U.S. economy.
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.