When Henry Ford put the country on wheels more than a century ago, Detroit was the center of automotive and manufacturing innovation, a distinction many would argue the Motor City still holds. A hundred years later, Ford Motor Company and special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Detroit are collaborating in creative ways to protect the very ideas and concepts on which the company was founded. And their combined efforts have a critically important benefit of keeping American drivers safe.
Since 2010, Ford and HSI Detroit have collaborated on dozens of enforcement efforts that resulted in the seizures of websites selling counterfeit diagnostics equipment, charges against individuals selling counterfeit airbags and airbag components, seizures of faulty Engine Control Modules (ECMs), which act as the vehicle’s “black box,” and seizures of other sensitive automotive parts. Special agents estimate the seizures have resulted in millions of dollars’ worth of bad parts that will never end up in a car.
To recognize HSI for these important efforts, Ford’s Mike Warwood, Parts Marketing Manager, presented special agents with a diecast model of a 2014 Ford Mustang GT in a late November ceremony at HSI Detroit.
Detroit Special Agent in Charge Marlon Miller called Ford a willing ally in the fight against counterfeits and said the recognition highlights the diligent work by HSI special agents on behalf of the American consumer.
Warwood characterized the partnership with HSI as mutually beneficial.
“Ford Motor Company is pleased to work with HSI Detroit’s Commercial Fraud Office in the pursuit of counterfeit automotive parts,” said Warwood. “The collaboration between both organizations is paramount in order to successfully prevail against criminal activity of this kind.”
With its close proximity to the headquarters of all of the domestic automakers, HSI Detroit is no stranger to counterfeit auto parts investigations. In 2012, the Detroit office led one of the nation’s first successful prosecutions against area counterfeit airbag dealers. The investigation resulted in convictions against the dealers and the seizure of dozens of counterfeit airbags. In laboratory tests, several counterfeit airbags either improperly deployed or projected shrapnel upon deployment.