A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Customs officers seize counterfeit apparel at Louisville port and illegal drugs at port in Erlanger

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Customs and Border Protection officers in Kentucky have had a busy couple of days, seizing counterfeit designer apparel and illegal drugs disguised as a powdered drink mix.

In Louisville, officers found five shipments in one night, containing counterfeit handbags, wallets, shoes, purses, and other items worth more than $1.1 million, according to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Bruno helps agents find narcotics.

One shipment contained 30 Louis Vuitton totes, four Dior handbags, and two Gucci handbags. Another had Chanel, Dior, and Balenciaga items. A third was filled with 200 YSL purses, while the fourth shipment had 366 Louis Vuitton bags. The final parcel was a box filled with Louis Vuitton wallets. All of the items were evaluated by an import specialist who determined that they were counterfeit items.

The fake goods originated from Hong Kong or the United Arab Emirates and were destined for Houston, Texas; Los Angeles and Glendale, California; Dorado, Puerto Rico, and New York City, New York.  If these items had been real, their MSRP would have been $1,131,095 according to the CBP.

“This just goes to show you, night after night our CBP officers are doing everything we can to protect the U.S. consumers from being conned into buying cheap knock-offs,” said Thomas Mahn, port director, Louisville.  “These seizures totaled over 700 items, and it is because of the great work of our officers.”

Meanwhile, at the Port of Cincinnati, located in Erlanger, CBP officers intercepted smuggled drugs in a shipment of powdered drinks imported from Mexico.  It turned out to contain 15 pounds of methamphetamine, with a street value of approximately $230,400.

Meth found in this packaging.

The CBP says Narcotic Detector Dog Bruno was working incoming freight from Mexico when he alerted to a package manifested as “18 sachets.”  Destined to a private residence in Houston, Texas, the shipment contained 18 foil packets labeled as various powdered drinks. Officers tested the drink mixes, which were identified as methamphetamine.

Port Director Richard Gillespie said, “The work of the brave men and women at the Port of Cincinnati and the hard work and dedication of our canine teams has prevented yet another shipment of dangerous drugs from reaching our communities.”

With more than 1,500 canine teams, the CBP says they are the largest and most diverse law enforcement canine program in the country. The dogs are taught to detect concealed humans, narcotics, currency, firearms, and are specialized in other disciplines such as search and rescue, tracking and trailing, human remains detection, and special response support.

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