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Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
07/07/2016

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ICE, partners seize $6.5 million in counterfeit goods in Puerto Rico

ICE, partners seize $6.5 million in counterfeit goods in Puerto Rico
ICE, partners seize $6.5 million in counterfeit goods in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized $6.5 million in counterfeit merchandise Wednesday in Old San Juan with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

“Stealing intellectual property is not a victimless crime,” said Ricardo Mayoral, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “The bottom line is counterfeit and pirated goods steal revenue from legitimate businesses and shortchange buyers who think they're getting the real deal. Those involved in intellectual property rights violations should take note that we are actively looking for contraband on a daily basis and counterfeit goods will be seized and violators prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

During the operation, HSI special agents and partner law enforcement officers targeted 14 retailers of counterfeit goods infringing on the trademarks of Gucci, Michael Kors, Prada, Channel, Ray Ban, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Oakley, Nike, Ray Ban and the National Basketball Association. They also executed five search warrants. The total manufacturer's suggested retail value (MSRP) of the seized goods is approximately $6.5 million. First time offenders of violating intellectual property laws were served with a notification of a violation of law. In the case of reoffenders, HSI will present their cases for prosecution.

As the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, HSI plays a leading role in targeting criminal organizations responsible for producing, smuggling and distributing counterfeit products. HSI investigations focus not only on keeping counterfeit products off U.S. streets, but also on dismantling the criminal organizations behind such activity.

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 23-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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/11/2016