Federal agents seized around 219,000 counterfeit luxury products this week from a storage facility in Manhattan worth a record $1.03 BILLION on the black market.
The seizure, conducted by the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations and the New York City Police Department, included thousands of counterfeit bags, clothes, shoes, and other luxury products.
Photographs of one of the storage units show knock-off Marc Jacob, Louis Vuitton, and Yves Saint Laurent products among the luxury goods that were seized.
Two people, Adama Sow and Abdulai Jalloh, were arrested and charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
“As alleged, the defendants used a Manhattan storage facility as a distribution center for massive amounts of knock-off designer goods,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.
“The seizures announced today consist of merchandise with over a billion dollars in estimated retail value, the largest-ever seizure of counterfeit goods in U.S. history. This is a testament to the commitment of this Office and its law enforcement partners to combat counterfeit trafficking in New York City.”
“The trafficking of counterfeit goods is anything but a victimless crime because it harms legitimate businesses, governments, and consumers,” NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban said. “Today’s indictments show how seriously the NYPD and our federal partners take this offense. And we will continue to work hard to hold accountable anyone who seeks to benefit by selling such items on the black market.”
Earlier this year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville seized over 3,000 counterfeit items worth over $3.1 million.
Those items included fake Rolex watches as well as hundreds of Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Versace, Tous, Tory Burch, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Disney knockoffs.
“These types of seizures happen every night. Our officers are very well trained and vigilant in stopping these illegal shipments from reaching their destinations,” LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office, said at the time.
According to CBP, America consumers spend more than $100 billion every year on counterfeit items.