STERLING, Va. – If this traveler could turn back time, if he could find a way, he might take back his newly purchased wrist watches to the Pakistan vendor.
Instead, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 18 counterfeit designer brand wrist watches at Washington Dulles International Airport on Tuesday valued at about $250,000 if they were authentic.
The traveler, who is from Harrisburg, Pa., initially arrived on a flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates on March 20. During a baggage examination, CBP officers inspected a plastic bag from inside a suitcase and discovered watches, a Louis Vuitton handbag, and Ray Ban sunglasses. The watches bore the names of 10 designer brands, including Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Cartier and Rolex.
CBP officers suspected the products to be fakes, detained them for further investigation, and released the traveler.
Officers then worked with CBP’s trade experts at the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandise Center of Excellence and Expertise. CBP import specialists confirmed that the products violated intellectual property rights and officers seized the products on Tuesday.
CBP import specialists appraised the counterfeit watches, Louis Vuitton purse, and two pairs of Ray Ban sunglasses at more than $254,000, had they been authentic. All products were manufactured in China and shipped to a vendor in Pakistan where the traveler purchased them.
“Counterfeit consumer goods violate United States intellectual property laws, steals revenue from trademark holders, may potentially harm U.S. consumers, and are never a good thing to pack in your baggage if you are heading to a Customs and Border Protection arrivals inspection,” said Daniel Escobedo, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C. “Customs and Border Protection remains committed to protecting U.S. businesses and consumers by intercepting counterfeit and potentially harmful goods that help fund transnational criminal groups.”
CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program.
During fiscal year 2021, CBP reported 20,252 counterfeit goods seizures worth an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of over $2.15 billion if the goods were authentic. That equates to about $5.88 million in counterfeit goods seizures every day. Read CBP’s Intellectual Property Seizure Report for more Fiscal Year 2020 IPR stats and analysis.
Counterfeit products are often manufactured with inferior materials in uncontrolled and unsanitary conditions and are labeled with false product information.
CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality. Learn what CBP accomplished during "A Typical Day" in 2021.
Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos, and CBP’s Office of Field Operations on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.