LOUISVILLE, Ky— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers that inspect packages at the Express Consignment Operation (ECO) hub in Louisville see a variety of illegal items arriving and departing the U.S. Recently, however, CBP officers seized three packages in a 24-hour timeframe concealing watches, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings totaling over $4.55 million.
On March 8 officers inspected a shipment arriving from Hong Kong that was heading to a residence in Ontario, Canada. Inside officers found 29 Rolex watches, 2 Hublot watches, 2 Breitling watches, 1 Tag Heuer watch and 3 Omega watches. An Import Specialist determined that the watches were counterfeit. The 37 watches had a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), if these were real, of $1.11 million.
The following night, March 9, officers seized two packages. The first shipment contained 1,034 items of counterfeit jewelry. An officer’s inspection revealed: 554 Tommy Hilfiger necklaces, 60 Rolex bracelet and ring combos, 60 Bvlgari bracelet and ring combos, 60 Louis Vuitton bracelet and ring combos, 60 Cartier bracelet and ring combos, 60 Versace bracelet and ring combos, 60 Hermes bracelet and ring combos and 120 Gucci bracelet and ring combos. CBP’s Import Specialist verified the items were counterfeit. This shipment was also arriving from Hong Kong and was heading for a company in Miami. Had these items been real the MSRP would have been over $1.19 million.
Later that night officers inspected a parcel that was arriving from the United Arab Emirates. Inside officers found just one Richard Mille watch with a MSRP of over 2.25 million, too bad it was a counterfeit. This fake was heading to a residence in California.
“CBP is responsible for enforcing nearly 500 U.S. trade laws and regulations on behalf of 49 other federal agencies. CBP officers play a critical role in the nation’s efforts to keep unsafe counterfeit and pirated goods from harming the American public,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “This is yet another dramatic example of how CBP officers work every day to protect the American consumer, the US economy and US jobs.”
The 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 more than $100 billion every year on intellectual property rights (IPR) infringing goods, falling victim to approximately 20% of the counterfeits that are illegally sold worldwide.
“Intellectual property theft threatens America’s economic vitality and funds criminal activities and organized crime,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director-Louisville. “Our officers are dedicated to protecting private industry and consumers by removing these kinds of shipments from our commerce.”
CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, currency, prohibited agriculture products, counterfeit goods, and other illicit items at our nation’s 328 international ports of entry.
On a typical day in 2021, CBP officers seized $9 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations. Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2021.
CBP's border security mission is led at 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