WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement and the World Customs Organization said Wednesday they had completed a joint operation called Operation Global Hoax II involving 43 countries that netted 30,000 parcels and more than 150,000 counterfeit or pirated items with a retail price tag of $7.3 million.
Counterfeit apparel, handbags and watches were among the items seized, which also included toys, pharmaceuticals, electronic goods, DVDs and mobile phones, as well as illicit goods such as cannabis seeds, anabolic steroids and amphetamines.
In the U.S., authorities seized 21,871 bogus and pirated items at mail facilities in Chicago, San Francisco, Memphis, New York, Anchorage and Louisville, Ky., in a operation that ran from November through mid-February.
“The smuggling of counterfeit goods robs Americans of jobs and diverts legitimate revenue from responsible industries into the pockets of organized crime,” said ICE director John Morton. “Substandard health and safety products also pose a legitimate risk to the American people.”
WCO secretary general Kunio Mikuriya said, “The huge quantity and variety of counterfeit goods being traded across the globe is staggering and worrisome. This operation is just another example of the determination of the global customs community and its partners to stop this illicit and often dangerous trade from flourishing with impunity.”
Officials said counterfeiters are increasingly turning to selling to individuals using postal and express courier channels to traffic thousands of counterfeit and pirated goods globally, rather than moving them in bulk shipments to intermediaries, which is expensive and more easily tracked.