The first shipment, halted and inspected by CBP officers in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday, included two parcels heading to a residence in West Palm Beach, Florida which included over 400 of Cartier's designer bracelets.
“This is a significant seizure for CBP, but unfortunately, CBP officers see counterfeit shipments like this every day,” Cincinnati port director Richard Gillespie said in a statement. “I’m extremely proud of these officers determination in stopping illicit shipments, and our commitment to protecting the American economy.”
Meanwhile, on the same night, a shipment containing 401 Cartier rings and bracelets was stopped and inspected in Louisville, Kentucky, determined to be from the same location in Hong Kong and headed to the same residence in West Palm Beach.
“Driven by the rise in E-commerce, the market for counterfeit goods in the United States has shifted in recent years from one in which consumers often knowingly purchased counterfeits to one in which counterfeiters try to deceive consumers into buying goods they believe are authentic,” Louisville port director Thomas Mahn added. "Consumers are unaware that they’re buying a dangerous product as the counterfeit is just that good.”
After being reviewed by an import specialist, the items were determined to be counterfeit. If the items were real, the total manufacturer suggested retail price for Cincinnati’s seizure would have been over $4.17 million, while Louisville’s seizure would have been more than $4.55 million.
Customers and Border Protection seizes millions of counterfeit goods every year as part of its mission to protect U.S. businesses and consumers, including fake versions of popular products like smartphones and related accessories, electronics, apparel, shoes, cosmetics and high-end luxury goods.
In addition, CBP agents seize goods posing "significant health and safety concerns", including counterfeit pharmaceuticals, bicycle and motorcycle helmets, medical devices, supplements and other consumables.
In fiscal year 2020 alone, CBP seized 26,503 shipments nationwide which violated intellectual property rights. If the products had been genuine, their estimated value would be nearly $1.3 billion.
CBP has authority to detain, seize, forfeit and destroy merchandise seeking entry into the United States if it bears an infringing trademark or copyright that has been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office.