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Intellectual Property Rights
06/03/2013

HSI seizes additional $500,000 in counterfeit goods en route to Baton Rouge store

BATON ROUGE, La. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized an additional $500,000 worth of counterfeit goods Friday from a shipment destined for a Baton Rouge store where HSI seized $1 million of counterfeit goods the day before.

HSI seized 3,082 counterfeit items from Fashion Express, located on Airline Highway, Thursday with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of more than $1 million. Based on information obtained during Thursday’s operation, HSI special agents were able to identify and seize a counterfeit merchandise shipment destined for the store Friday – bringing the total MSRP value of seized counterfeit goods to $1.5 million.

Prior to Thursday’s search warrant, HSI special agents had conducted an investigation focused on Fashion Express that included multiple undercover buys of counterfeit clothing and electronics. HSI also previously served warning letters to the business regarding the illegal sale of counterfeit merchandise prior to Thursday’s operation.

"This operation demonstrates once HSI identifies criminal activity its agents will tirelessly investigate to uncover the full scope of a criminal enterprise and seek prosecution of all those involved," said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer Jr. Parmer oversees five states to include 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 Thursday, 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 (IPR) 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.