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$22 Million in Designer Watches Intercepted by CBP Officers in Louisville

Release Date: 
February 23, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky— During the month of February U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Port of Louisville have made numerous seizures of illicit drugs, counterfeit designer clothes and jewelry, but their largest seizures so far this year happened last Thursday, February 18. Watch

CBP officers inspected three parcels, each manifested as female bracelets, to determine if the goods were admissible in accordance with CBP regulations. The officers found a total of 600 Rolex watches deemed to be counterfeit by CBP’s trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise. The watches originated from a technology company in Hong Kong and destined for a residence in Brooklyn, New York. All of them displayed the protected Rolex trademark. The total declared value for all three boxes was listed as $615, but had the 600 watches been real the cumulative Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) would have been worth $22.77 million.

Historically, counterfeit watches and jewelry have been one of the top seized counterfeit products by CBP, with more than a quarter of the counterfeit goods coming from Hong Kong. Counterfeit watches and jewelry make up almost half of the total MSRP of seized goods (an average of $650 million over the last two years).

“These shipments were destined for one residence most likely for this person to distribute or sell these fake items to ill-informed consumers,” said Thomas Mahn, Louisville Port Director. “Criminals will continue to use e-commerce and international shipping to send their products to the U.S. in hopes of damaging our economy.”

Sold in underground outlets and on third party e-commerce websites, counterfeit commodities fund smugglers and members of organized crime. Consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but soon realize the item is substandard.

CBP Trade protects the intellectual property rights of American businesses through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program, safeguarding them from unfair competition and use for malicious intent while upholding American innovation and ingenuity. Suspected violations can be reported to CBP here.

Every year, CBP seizes millions of counterfeit goods from countries around the world as part of its mission to protect U.S. businesses and consumers. These goods include fake versions of popular products, such as smartphones and related accessories, electronics, apparel, shoes, cosmetics, and high-end luxury goods, as well as goods posing significant health and safety concerns, such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals, bicycle and motorcycle helmets, medical devices, supplements and other consumables. Sold online and in stores, counterfeit goods hurt the U.S. economy, cost Americans their jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and fund criminal activity. Visit the National IPR Coordination Center for more information about IPR including counterfeiting and piracy.

Nationwide in Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was nearly $1.3 billion. CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at https://www.cbp.gov/FakeGoodsRealDangers.

CBP's border security mission is led at 328 ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.  Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.

Last modified: 
February 23, 2021