US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

CBP in Puerto Rico Continues to Seize Counterfeits; including Fake $100 Bills

Release Date: 
February 7, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers and Import Specialist seized 138 shipments of counterfeit products during the month of January,  including stacks of fake $100 bills.    

“CBP alone cannot stem the tide of counterfeit and pirated goods,” indicated Leida Colon, Assistant Director of Field Operations for Trade.  “All private-sector stakeholders have critical roles to play and must adopt identified best practices, while redoubling efforts to police their own businesses and supply chains.” A pair of counterfeit Nike sneakers.

Among the fraudulent merchandise CBP officers seized are watches, jewelry, bags, clothing and sunglasses that were illegally using known brands such as Cartier, Adidas, Rolex, Dolce & Gabana, Gucci, Louis Vutton, Pandora, Tous and Nike, among many others.   

The estimated manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of all the counterfeit products seized is $4.2 million.   

Import Specialists also intercepted a mail parcel coming from China declared as “Cards.”. A full examination by CBP Officers revealed that the parcel contained counterfeit $100 US bills. 

The rapid growth of e-commerce platforms has helped fuel the growth of counterfeit and pirated goods into a half trillion-dollar industry. This illicit trade has an enormous impact on the American economy by eroding the competitiveness of American workers, manufacturers and innovation.  

These goods also represent a national security threat as they may be introduced into critical supply chains or used to generate revenue for transnational criminal organizations. 

CBP has an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program, which targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR goods.  

Individuals and organizations that traffic with counterfeit goods maybe subject to criminal prosecution.  

On Jan. 16, the US District Court of Puerto Rico convicted and organization smuggling counterfeit and misbranded health commodities.  A joint effort by CBP, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Food a Drug Administration (FDA) resulted in the discovery of an illicit procurement organization introducing counterfeit prophylactics and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce operating from Manati, Puerto Rico.   

The CBP San Juan Area Port seized over one million counterfeit and misbranded health hazards from this network, which utilized multiple social media platforms for advertising and distribution. Among the products seized CBP fund items containing Sildenafil, used to treat erectile dysfunction, and counterfeit lipsticks containing a chemical found in pesticides, prohibited by the FDA. .    

During FY 2019, CBP trade operations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands generated over 4,500 Trade Seizures; 3,886 of which were IPR related.  The estimated Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the IPR-related seized items is over $38 million.

Know more about what CBP does to protect Intellectual Property Rights here https://www.cbp.gov/trade/priority-issues/ipr

You can also learn as to how we seek to address IPR violation with the video following: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/video-gallery/2014/02/countering-counterfeits

Last modified: 
February 7, 2020