Over $700K 'Designer' Goods Seized By US Customs


On March 16, 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Norfolk, Virginia, seized over $700,000 of counterfeit designer goods. The shipment included designer brand name clothes, handbags, accessories, and sneakers – purportedly from Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton among others.

The large shipment was due to arrive at an address in Chesapeake, Virginia, however the package was intercepted and examined by CBP on February 3, after arriving in Virginia from Seoul, South Korea. The contents of the shipment included 68 items, all bearing recognizable and iconic brand trademarks of brands such as Burberry, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and others. Included within the goods were multiple handbags including replica Hermes Birkin and Kelly’s, Chanel 19 bags, and multiple small leather goods.

Upon initial assessment of the goods, officers immediately suspected that the designer pieces were counterfeit, and detained them to verify their authenticity. Officers continued the investigation, and submitted the necessary photographs and documentation to the CBP’s experts at the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles Centers of Excellence and Expertise for further examination.

Finally, on March 6, the experts within the CBP’s Apparel Center of Excellence deemed that the shipment of consumer goods was indeed non-authentic. All items bore infringing copyrights and trademarks, in the form of logos and branding. The seizure was completed on March 16 by CBP officers in the Area Port of Norfolk. Despite this, no one has been linked to the goods or criminally charged, and the investigation is currently still ongoing.

Within the CBP’s monthly operational update released in February 2023, it was reported that “In February 2023, CBP seized 1,590 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at more than $182.4 million”. While the contents of these seized shipments vary, many included replica designer goods. Although the vast majority of seized goods may be illicit substances and counterfeit beauty products – replica luxury fashion and accessories remains a huge business.

The CBP sent a strong reminder to customers about the dangers and risks associated with purchasing counterfeit goods:

“CBP strongly encourages consumers to protect their families by purchasing authentic goods from reputable vendors.”

Image courtesy: cbp.gov

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