Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities reported on Dec. 17 that they seized three charges in Los Angeles filled with counterfeit products such as Viagra pills, headphones, sneakers, etc., worth $32 million, Breitbart reported.
“The counterfeit items included more than one million erectile dysfunction pills, footwear, belts, purses and headphones in violation of registered and recorded trademarks. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $32,161,194.00,” the press release said.
According to a report by Business Insider, from 2008 to 2010 almost 70% of all counterfeit merchandise seized in the world came from China.
For the United States, the figure is higher; Customs said that in the same period 87% of the value of seized counterfeits came from China.
“Commercial piracy and product counterfeiting undermine the U.S. economy, rob Americans of jobs, stifle American innovation, and promote other types of crimes,” said David A. Prince, special agent in charge for ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles. “Intellectual property theft amounts to economic sabotage, which is why HSI will aggressively pursue product counterfeiters and those who sell counterfeit products.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seizes millions of counterfeit products from countries around the world, including counterfeit versions of high-tech products, clothing, footwear, and luxury items. In the case of counterfeit drugs, such as Viagra pills, there is a huge health risk by not being able to verify the composition of the drug.
“Criminals are exploiting e-commerce platforms to sell counterfeit and often dangerous goods to unwitting holiday shoppers,” CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles Carlos C. Martel said.
CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing intellectual property rights infringing goods across the country in 2020. If the goods had been genuine, they would have been worth about $1.3 billion.
“Counterfeiters are focused on making a profit; they are not focused on consumer safety,” Donald R. Kusser, the CBP port director of Los Angeles said. “Buying counterfeit goods can expose you and your family to health and safety risks while the proceeds support criminal enterprises.”