$12.7M in Fake Pills and Apparel Seized at San Pedro Ports

fake merchandize seized at Los Angeles and Long Beach
Sampling of the items seized coming in from China at the seaports (CBP)

Published Jun 21, 2021 7:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport showed off their latest round of seizures of counterfeit products arriving in the seaports from China. They reported seizing over 57,000 counterfeit products ranging from fake Cialis pills to footwear and apparel with an estimated value of over $12.7 million.

To deter the importation of illicit goods and protect U.S. consumers and businesses, CBP reports that it has developed a proactive, aggressive and dynamic enforcement approach to Intellectual Property Right (IPR) enforcement. The challenge for the teams has increased in the past year as the level of imports passing through the ports complex surged. 

“CBP along with our HSI and LAPD strategic partners form a united front against transnational criminal organizations who attempt to smuggle counterfeit goods,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. CBP officers, in coordination with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, seized all counterfeit items and turned them over to the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Commercial Crimes Division, Illicit Pharmaceutical and Counterfeit Unit (IPCU) for further investigation.

The most recent seized items included 47,490 counterfeit Cialis pills as well as 10,117 pieces of apparel and footwear. CBP reported violation of the Christian Dior, Versace, Gucci, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Nike Air and Swoosh designs and registered and recorded trademarks. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $12,709,782.

According to the agents the majority of these goods would have likely ended up on illegitimate websites and sold in underground outlets. Consumers they warned are tricked into believing they are buying an original product at a significant discount. CBP agents said if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is because it is counterfeit merchandise. They warned consumers to only purchase items from authorized retailers.

"The primary goal of the LAPD's IPCU is to identify and disrupt the manufacture, sales and distribution of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and merchandise," said Captain III Lillian Carranza, Commanding Officer of the LAPD's Commercial Crimes Division. "It is vital to maintain partnerships with CBP and HSI to weaken the supply networks and dismantle the businesses of organized crime." 

In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP reported that its teams nationwide seized 26,503 shipments containing counterfeit goods that would have been worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine.