Police in Los Angeles have shuttered a factory they said had produced substantial quantities of counterfeit True Religion jeans and other high-end apparel.
At the time of the bust Thursday, the facility, described by authorities as one of the largest plants dedicated to the production of counterfeit wares to be discovered in Southern California in the last decade, housed about 1,000 completed apparel items, as well as tens of thousands of labels, buttons and hangtags. Estimates placed its size at about 3,500 square feet.
“What is so unique about it is that it is an actual manufacturing facility in L.A.,” said True Religion secretary and general counsel Deborah Greaves. “I have to tell you that 99 percent of all counterfeit jeans come from China. It is the first counterfeit jeansmaker in Los Angeles. We have found T-shirt makers before.”
Police confiscated nearly 80,000 pieces of evidence worth roughly $1.36 million, according to Lt. Patrick Shields of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Enforcement Section, Piracy Unit, who estimated that machinery at the factory, including equipment for silk-screening, heat transfer, sewing and embroidery, was valued at around $100,000.
“They are producing it [counterfeits] through a textile apparel company, and we hadn’t seen that before,” said Shields. “I’m sure if they are doing it, there will be others doing it because there is probably money in it.”
Just 10 minutes south of Los Angeles, the “nondescript” facility, located in the 11300 South Block of Almadea Street in Lynwood, Calif., also made counterfeit Lacoste, Affliction, Bebe, Ed Hardy and Nike apparel, according to private investigator Kris Buckner, whose team was hired two to three weeks ago after the LAPD was tipped off about the location.
The undercover investigator made “multiple purchases” before turning the goods into the LAPD’s piracy unit, which then obtained a warrant.
The factory operator, Nicolas Perez, was arrested and charged with trademark infringement by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Perez has a relative who has been arrested on counterfeit-related charges previously, police said, adding Perez posted his bail, which was set at $25,000, Friday.
According to the L.A.-based denim vendor, last week’s raid is part of its ongoing fight against counterfeiting. In conjunction with California law enforcement, True Religion has seized nearly 30,000 pairs of counterfeit jeans in the past few months.
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