A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Fake ‘3M Safe Guard’ masks confiscated by U.S. Customs at Erlanger facility, headed to Jamaica

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A shipment of over 6,000 counterfeit masks intended to protect against COVID-19 infection were intercepted by Customs and Border Protection officers at their facility in Northern Kentucky.

Shipping boxes of masks labeled as 3M Disposable Respirators Model 8210 (US Customs photo)

Officers at their building in Erlanger, located near the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Airport, held an incoming freight from Hong Kong for inspection. During routine operations, officers discovered a shipment containing 38 shipping boxes of masks labeled as 3M Disposable Respirators Model 8210.

Officers noted the information provided with the shipment did not meet the requirements of the 3M Safe Guard product authentication process. The boxes also were labeled as made in the USA although imported through a freight forwarder in Hong Kong. The masks were ultimately determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise.

“With the current health concerns nationwide, our officers have amplified their efforts to find fake medical supplies that can have potentially deadly consequences,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie.  “Counterfeit masks like these are not tested using the same quality control standards as the genuine product, and it is unlikely they will perform in the same manner as the genuine product was designed to do. CBP understands the importance of finding these shipments and preventing them from being sold to unsuspecting consumers.”

The masks were headed to Kingston, Jamaica, and would have had a manufacturer’s suggested retail value of $6,688 had they been genuine.
The Centers of Excellence and Expertise serve as resources to the nation’s broader trade community and to CBP’s U.S. government partners. The agency was established to increase the uniformity of practices across all U. S. ports of entry, facilitate the timely resolution of trade compliance issues nationwide, and further strengthen critical agency knowledge on key industry practices.

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