U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday that a coordinated crackdown in the greater Los Angeles area led to the arrest of 30 individuals and the seizure of millions of dollars of counterfeit goods.
ICE said it seized counterfeit apparel, jewelry, leather goods, DVDs, CDs and fake iPhones worth an estimated $12 million if they had been genuine. Goods seized bore fake trademarks including Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, Cartier, Nike, Ray-Ban, Kate Spade, Oakley and Dooney & Bourke.
In all, ICE seized 47,000 individual items, the agency said. Authorities also seized equipment used to manufacture fake apparel.
The seizures were conducted by ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations in cooperation with local law enforcement, including the Los Angeles Police Department and the Riverside County District Attorney’s office.
The LAPD had conducted three stings in the past two weeks. On Aug. 17, the LAPD, working in conjunction with ICE and Homeland Security, seized $6 million worth of knockoff True Religion jeans in a container shipped from China.
Subsequent seizures were conducted in Santee Alley, a known haven for counterfeits in Los Angeles, on Aug. 24 and 26. The last seizure from a warehouse in Santee Alley netted fake goods worth almost $9.8 million, according to ICE.
Lt. Patrick Shields in the LAPD’s detective support and vice division said seizures of counterfeit goods have been progressively increasing over the past six years. Last year, his division issued 29 search warrants, made 46 arrests and seized $15.1 million worth of counterfeit products. As of Aug. 26, the division reported 27 search warrants, 99 arrests and $15.8 million worth of knockoffs.
While the weak economy is one major factor in the increase in counterfeiting, Shields said there’s also a trend of criminals switching from narcotics to intellectual property crimes. “Even though it’s a felony, the sentencing [for intellectual property crime] isn’t as harsh as narcotics,” he said.
The Los Angeles seizures were part of a larger effort by the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, called “Operation Fire Sale.” The operation resulted in the seizure of more than $16 million worth of counterfeit merchandise in New York, Miami, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Los Angeles last week, ICE said.
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)