Additional $500k in counterfeit goods en route to BR store seized by Homeland Security

Photo provided by MGN Online.
Monday, June 3, 2013 - 3:00pm

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized an additional $500,000 worth of counterfeit goods Friday from a shipment to a Baton Rouge store where HSI seized $1 million of counterfeit goods the day before.

HSI seized 3,082 counterfeit items from Fashion Express Thursday worth a total manufacturer’s suggested retail price of more than $1 million. Based on information obtained during Thursday’s operation, HSI special agents were able to identify and seize a shipment of counterfeit merchandise to the store Friday – bringing the total MSRP value of seized counterfeit goods to $1.5 million.

HSI and the Louisiana Attorney General’s office executed a search warrant Thursday at Fashion Express, located at 5956 Airline Hwy, following an HSI investigation that included multiple undercover buys of counterfeit clothing and electronics. HSI also previously served warning letters to the business regarding the illegal sale of counterfeit merchandise prior to Thursday’s operation.

“This operation demonstrates once HSI identifies criminal activity its agents will tirelessly investigate to uncover the full scope of a criminal enterprise and seek prosecution of all those involved,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer Jr. Parmer oversees five states to include Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Some of the counterfeit trademarked items seized during the operation include Michael Kors, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Coach and Polo merchandise. While searching the premises Thursday, HSI special agents also discovered thousands of counterfeit name-brand tags and labels that indicate counterfeit merchandise was being assembled inside the store.

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 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.

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