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De Minimis Shipment worth over $11 million stopped by Louisville CBP

Release Date
Mon, 03/11/2024

LOUISVILLE, Ky—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of Louisville seized a de minimis shipment containing 35 counterfeit designer watches. The items were deemed to be inauthentic by CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise, the agency’s trade experts, and if genuine, would have had a combined Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) over $11.7 million.


The shipment arrived from Hong Kong and contained 35 watches bearing the protected trademark of Richard Mille. The watches were destined for a residence in Puerto Rico, and had a MSRP of $11.72 million, had they been genuine. The watches were seized on March 6 for infringing on the protected trademarks recorded with CBP.

“Every day CBP officers are seizing these fraudulent de minimis shipments sent by bad actors,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations, Chicago Field Office. “Criminals are trying to exploit the mail environment by peddling their counterfeit products. Even though this package had a low declared value, they pose the same potential health, safety, and economic security risks as larger and more traditional containerized shipments. I am very proud of our officers recognizing these counterfeits and addressing the challenges faced in the de minimis environment.”

De minimis shipments provide admission of articles free of duty and of any tax imposed on or by reason of importation, but the aggregate fair retail value in the country of shipment of articles imported by one person on one day and exempted from the payment of duty shall not exceed $800. However, with the rise in e-commerce and small packages illegal actors are taking advantage of the unprecedented volume of e-commerce shipments entering the U.S. and the opacity of global supply chains to introduce illicit goods into the country. CBP estimates nearly 90 percent of the shipments coming into the United States are now entering through the small package environment.  This illustrates just how much growth has occurred in the e-commerce sector. 

In 2015, CBP processed 134 million de minimis transactions.  By 2023, this has increased to 1 billion, representing a 646% growth in eight years.  Every day, over 2.5 million low-value, de minimis shipments arrive at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities for targeting, review, and potential physical examination.  The global e-commerce environment represented $3.3 trillion in sales in FY 2023.

In FY 2023, the U.S. processed more than 1 billion de minimis shipments worth more than $50 billion through postal, express, and non-express facilities. As of the January 31, 2024, CBP has already processed more than half a billion de minimis shipments.  Based on these totals, CBP anticipates exceeding last year’s record volume of 1 billion shipments.

CBP encourages anyone with information about counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States to submit an e-Allegation. The e-Allegation system provides a means for the public to anonymously report to CBP any suspected violations of trade laws or regulations related to the importation of goods in the U.S. 

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

Last Modified: Mar 11, 2024