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Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
12/07/2014

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HSI seizes more than $1 million in counterfeit goods from Detroit retailer

HSI seizes more than $1 million in counterfeit goods from Detroit retailer
HSI seizes more than $1 million in counterfeit goods from Detroit retailer

DETROIT — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized more than 6,000 counterfeit items with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1.6 million from a Detroit business Thursday. The seized items included counterfeit designer clothing and luxury accessories.

HSI executed a state search warrant at The Source II, located on Woodward Avenue, following an investigation that included multiple undercover buys of counterfeit merchandise. Special agents also served a state search warrant at the Southfield residence of the business owner, Cerhue Walker, where he was arrested on charges of trafficking counterfeit goods. A second suspect, Latrice Walker, was arrested at the Detroit store.

The search and arrests come at the height of the holiday shopping season when counterfeit merchandise is highly pervasive. During the weeks leading up to the new year, the market is flooded with counterfeit products being sold at stores, on street corners and online. The most popular counterfeit products seized each year include headphones, sports jerseys, personal care products, shoes, toys, luxury goods, cell phones and electronic accessories.

"At this time of year, counterfeit traffickers often exploit the enthusiasm of consumers looking for good deals," said Special Agent in Charge of HSI Detroit Marlon V. Miller. “We urge consumers to do their homework and find out if they’re buying from legitimate retailers. The sad reality is that there is little or no recourse for people who are scammed by counterfeit traffickers."

Some of the counterfeit trademarked items seized during the operation include: Nike sneakers, Louis Vuitton purses, North Face apparel, Gucci sunglasses, Rolex watches, brand-named fragrances, and Polo and True Religion apparel, among other items. While searching Cerhue Walker’s home, HSI special agents also discovered and seized $47,000, a stolen hand gun, and additional counterfeit merchandise.

The following agencies are assisting in the ongoing investigation: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Detroit, Trenton and Troy Police Departments.

This investigation was also 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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/10/2014