Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 | 1:37 p.m.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents seized more than $350,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise - including clothing, leather goods, jewelry, sunglasses, accessories and cosmetics – in a coordinated crackdown targeting vendors in the Las Vegas area last week, the agency said today.
The enforcement actions resulted in the seizure of more than 4,300 individual items bearing the names of more than 25 designer brands, including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Rolex, Ray-Ban, Versace and MAC. Authorities estimate the seized merchandise is worth more than $350,000, based upon the items’ suggested retail price had the goods been legitimate.
The counterfeit goods were seized from Forward Fashion Handbags, 1750 South Rainbow Blvd.; Lupita Perfumeria at the Charleston Discount Mall, 4530 E. Charleston Ave.; the Broad Acres Swap Meet in North Las Vegas; the Fantastik Swap Meet in Las Vegas; and one private residence in Las Vegas.
ICE received substantial assistance from the Nevada Department of Investigations.
“The next time you’re tempted to save a few bucks by buying a product you know is counterfeit, remember – you’re a party to economic sabotage,” said Claude Arnold, ICE special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles. “Counterfeiting undermines the U.S. economy, robs Americans of jobs, stifles American innovation and promotes other types of crime.”
ICE has established a toll-free number for the public to report illegal activity, including information about suspected trafficking in counterfeit merchandise. The number, 1-866-347-9423, is monitored 24 hours a day.
The enforcement actions are part of Operation Fire Sale, an ongoing agency initiative targeting intellectual property crime in several major cities nationwide, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Philadelphia. Operation Fire Sale resulted in the seizure of more than $16 million worth of counterfeit merchandise in those cities in a September enforcement operation.