CHICAGO–U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers attached to the Anti Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) in Chicago were contacted by Homeland Security Investigation to seize a shipment arriving from Shenzhen China. On September 10, 2020, the shipment was seized.
The shipment listed 500,000 N-95 respirator masks, which were believed to be counterfeit. A-TCET officers removed 30 masks and sent them to a CDC testing office in West Virginia. The CDC report concluded that 10% of the respirators tested had a filter efficiency rating below 95%. The shipment was seized under Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act Adulterated or Misbranded Products.
An appraisal performed by an Import Specialist established the Domestic Value at $3,074,385.00 and MSRP at $474,905.00. The Domestic Value is higher than the MSRP strictly due to the masks being in high demand. The package was destined for a company in Manalapan, New Jersey.
“Our CBP officers working with partners in HSI were able to stop these faulty mask from being sold under the guise of fully protecting Americans,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director-Chicago. “These masks did not meet the safety standards outlined by the CDC, which puts the public at risk, jeopardizing the health and well being of everyone.”
The shipment of masks were turned over to HSI for further investigation and enforcement.
Certain organizations are attempting to exploit the limited supply of and increased demand for some pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment and other medical goods required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other products, these criminals are smuggling and selling counterfeit safety equipment, unapproved COVID-19 test kits, unproven medicines and substandard hygiene products through the online marketplace.
To combat these criminal activities, CBP is targeting imports and exports that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods. The products in targeted shipments often include false or misleading claims, lack required warnings or lack proper approvals.