‘Designer’ Goods Worth $3.1M Seized by US Customs in 1 Night 


May 8, 2023, was a very busy night for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Louisville, Kentucky. Officers intercepted and seized three large shipments containing various counterfeit luxury goods. The shipments included designer brand name handbags, jewelry, and watches – purportedly from Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Rolex among others.

The first shipment contained 1,438 counterfeit Van Cleef & Arpels necklaces, all bearing the luxury brands’ trademarks. This shipment was due to arrive at a residence in Miami, after arriving in Louisville from Hong Kong. Had the jewelry been genuine, the value would have been a staggering $2.18 million. 

The second parcel to be inspected by CBP officers also originated from Hong Kong and contained 10 counterfeit Rolex watches. The shipment was heading to a location in Ontario, Canada before it had been intercepted. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price would have been $102,500 had they been genuine. 

Image courtesy: cbp.gov

The last package to be intercepted and examined on May 8, 2023, was headed to a P.O. Box in Laredo, Texas. After it arrived from Hong Kong, officers inspected the contents to find multiple counterfeit goods. The contents of the shipment include over 1,400 pairs of earrings bearing recognizable, but inauthentic logos representing luxury brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Versace, and Gucci, among others. Additionally, officers also found over 200 replica Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton necklaces. Had this jewelry shipment been authentic, the retail value would have been $812,510. 

Image courtesy: cbp.gov

Not only are counterfeit luxury goods illegal, but some of these products can contain harmful substances. Specifically, some counterfeit jewelry – purportedly from Chanel has been found to contain toxic materials and traces of lead, which can be damaging to human health. 

It is no secret that large shipments of counterfeit goods continuously arrive in the United States. As LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director of Field Operations-Chicago Field Office states, “These types of seizures happen every night. Our officers are very well trained and vigilant in stopping these illegal shipments from reaching their destinations.” 

As e-commerce services grow, consumers can easily search for millions of products available to purchase online. Although this is beneficial for most sectors, this has opened up direct access to counterfeit goods and allows for these goods to enter the U.S. economy. It is reported that: 

“U.S. consumers spend more than $100 billion every year on intellectual property rights (IP) infringing goods, falling victim to approximately 20% of the counterfeits illegally sold worldwide.”

Unfortunately, replica luxury goods continue to be a worldwide issue. It is becoming increasingly important to only purchase from reputable businesses, to avoid counterfeits. As explained by Thomas Mahn, Port Director, Louisville:

“As consumers increasingly purchase from online or third-party vendors, our officers are at the frontline to guard against defrauders expecting to make money selling fake merchandise.”

Read more: 3 shipments containing 3,165 counterfeit items worth over $3.1M Seized by Louisville CBP in 1 night