On Feb. 1, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville, Ky., intercepted two packages that contained more than 200 pieces of counterfeit Cartier jewelry, the agency said.
The shipper “used a common technique” in hopes of evading detection by customs officers, sending the items in multiple packages with the expectation that at least some of the merchandise would make it through, the CBP said.
The shipments contained a total of 246 items: 177 bracelets, 57 rings, and 12 necklaces, all of which bore a doctored version of Cartier’s protected trademark. If those items had been real, the pieces’ overall total retail value would have been $5.2 million.
The items were being shipped to a “fictitious business” in the United States, the agency said; it declined to provide additional information.
The CBP statement noted that counterfeiting is often connected to organized crime.
“The trade of fake goods, and the widespread violation of private intellectual property rights, threaten the American economy, as well as our national security,” said Thomas Mahn, the port director of Louisville, in a statement. “We will continue to put substantial efforts and resources into protecting our economy and American consumers, as well as securing our homeland and keeping our families safe.”
In 2020, the CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that it found had violated intellectual property rights. It has also launched a campaign to educate consumers on the hazards of buying counterfeit items.
In December, CBP officers in Cincinnati seized two shipments that contained hundreds of fake jewelry pieces and watches. While that’s relatively common, in November the agency did something that surprised many in the industry when it seized a jewelry package headed to Detroit because its contents were not properly declared.
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