High-end counterfeit goods seized at Port of Los Angeles
February 07, 2011 - LM Editorial
More than $10 million in counterfeit electronics, stolen merchandise and bank receipts have been recovered as a result of a cargo theft investigation initiated by Los Angeles Port Police.
Counterfeit Apple products have been seized, a downtown Los Angeles counterfeiting operation behind the fake goods was shut down and felony charges have been filed against two suspects.
“There’s often a fine line between goods that are brought here from Asia as legitimate products, and those that have been repackaged to deceive the consumer,” port spokesman, Phillip Sanfield told LM in an interview.
The counterfeit goods included electronics that resembled Apple iPods and iPhones. The electronic devices were shipped from Asia, then falsely labeled and packaged in Los Angeles. The $2.5 million in stolen goods that were recovered include electronics, toys, and blankets stolen from various locations in Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire.
“Our standing as the largest shipping container port in the country is in no small part predicated on the security we can offer our clients,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Counterfeiting takes jobs and revenue away from our city’s coveted creative industries and other legitimate businesses and it will not be tolerated.”
“Our layered, multi-agency approach to security and theft investigations led to success in this significant discovery,” said Los Angeles Port Police Chief Ronald Boyd. “We’re proud of the teamwork that happens on a continuous basis to thwart consumer fraud, keep our Port safe and enable our agencies to pursue cases to fruition and criminal prosecution.”
Port Police worked on the investigation as part of the Cargo Theft Interdiction Program (CTIP), a California Highway Patrol initiative that includes participation from Los Angeles Port Police and the City of Vernon Police Department. The counterfeit investigation is being jointly conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) and Port Police. The Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST), comprised of federal, state and local agencies, also played a role in the investigation.
The case stems from a stolen cargo investigation that led Los Angeles Port Police to several downtown Los Angeles locations in December and January. During searches of the locations, Port Police discovered counterfeit products with an estimated street value of more than $1.4 million, stolen goods worth approximately $2.5 million and bank account receipts that indicate profits from the sale of counterfeit merchandise estimated to be more than $7 million.
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