A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Customs and Border Protection officers seize three shipments of fake luxury items at Port of Louisville

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A busy night this week for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville as they seized three shipments containing various fake luxury items that would have been worth over $3 million, if they were real.

CBP officers examined all three shipments to determine the admissibility of the goods and discovered they all contained inauthentic luxury items.

Fake watches and other luxury items were confiscated by custom patrols in Louisville. (CBP photo)

The first shipment contained 1,438 necklaces bearing counterfeit Van Cleef & Arpels trademarks. The necklaces, arriving from Hong Kong and heading to a residence in Miami, would have been worth $2.18 million, had they been genuine.

CBP officers inspected a second parcel originating from Hong Kong and found 10 fake Rolex watches. This shipment was heading to a residence in Ontario, Canada. Had the watches been real, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price would have been $102,500.

The final package, also from Hong Kong, was headed to a P.O. Box in Laredo, Texas. Inside, officers found 14 fake Louis Vuitton handbags, and over 1,400 pairs of earrings bearing inauthentic logos representing Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Versace, Tous, Tory Burch, and Disney brands. Officers also found over 200 necklaces bearing fake logos of Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton brands. The items in this shipment would have been worth $812,510, if they had been authentic.

“This is just another example of the work our officers do to protect consumers and the U.S. economy,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director, Louisville. “As consumers increasingly purchase from online or third-party vendors, our officers are at the frontline to guard against defrauders expecting to make money selling fake merchandise.”

According to the CBP, tThe rapid growth of e-commerce enables consumers to search for and easily purchase millions of products through online vendors, but this easy access gives counterfeit and pirated goods more ways to enter the U.S. economy. U.S. consumers spend over $100 billion per year on intellectual property rights infringing goods, falling victim to approximately 20% of the counterfeits illegally sold worldwide.

The agency warns that counterfeit costume jewelry bearing famous brands such as Chanel, have been found to contain lead and other toxic materials which are dangerous to human health.

For more on how to protect yourself from counterfeit goods, visit www.stopfakes.gov.

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