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Intellectual Property Rights

Operation Global Hoax II nets tens of thousands of counterfeit goods in 43 country operation

WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and the World Customs Organization recently concluded Operation Global Hoax II, seizing tens of thousands of counterfeit and pirated goods at international mail facilities and express courier depots worldwide during a two-month operation that began in November 2011.

The 43 countries participating in Operation Global Hoax II shared information and intelligence using CENcomm, the WCO's secure communication tool, with the aim of stemming the growing flow of illicit counterfeit and pirated products being delivered to consumers via mail or by express courier services.

More than 30,000 parcels were detained and more than 150,000 counterfeit or pirated items were seized during Operation Global Hoax II by customs officials including toys, pharmaceuticals, electronic goods, clothing, DVDs, watches, mobile phones and handbags, as well as other illicit goods such as cannabis seeds, anabolic steroids and amphetamines.

In the United States, Operation Global Hoax II was conducted at mail facilities in Chicago; Anchorage, Alaska; San Francisco: Memphis, Tenn.; New York; and Louisville, Ky., Dec. 5-9, 2011. During the U.S. operation 21,871 items were seized with a total MSRP of $7,309,648.70.

"The smuggling of counterfeit goods robs Americans of jobs and diverts legitimate revenue from responsible industries into the pockets of organized crime. Substandard health and safety products also pose a legitimate risk to the American people," said ICE Director John Morton. "We thank the World Customs Organization for coordinating this second phase of the operation and facilitating the cooperation of so many member countries."

"The huge quantity and variety of counterfeit goods being traded across the globe is staggering and worrisome," said WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya. "This operation is just another example of the determination of the global customs community and its partners to stop this illicit and often dangerous trade from flourishing with impunity."

As of early February, 33 customs organizations worldwide reported the final results of their Operation Global Hoax II-related enforcement activities. Additional results will be announced as investigations are wrapped up.

Counterfeiters are concentrating increasingly on sales to individuals using postal and express courier channels to move tens of thousands of counterfeit and pirated goods around the world rather than dispatching bulk shipments to intermediaries that are expensive to send and could more easily be tracked.

Operation Global Hoax II was coordinated by the WCO and the IPR Center and mirrors the success of Operation Global Hoax I, a 2010 operation that focused on pirated DVDs and CDs, resulting in the seizure of 142,000 DVDs and 28,000 CDs.

The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against IP theft. The IPR Center offers one-stop shopping for both law enforcement and the private sector to address the growing transnational threat of counterfeit merchandise. The IPR Center coordinates outreach to U.S. rights holders and conducts domestic and international law enforcement training to stem the growing counterfeiting threat as well as coordinating and directing anti-counterfeiting investigations. To learn more about the IPR Center, go to www.ICE.gov.

Report information on counterfeiting and trademark violations at (866) IPR-2060.