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  4. Dulles CBP Officers Seize more than $500k in Counterfeit Consumer Goods in Passenger Baggage

Dulles CBP Officers Seize more than $500k in Counterfeit Consumer Goods in Passenger Baggage

Release Date

Second major CBP counterfeit haul in passenger baggage during the last year

STERLING, Va. – Your overseas vacation is drawing to an end and you’re preparing to fly back to the United States. You want to grab some last-minute souvenirs or mementos, so you hit the hotel gift shop or airport duty free and buy a t-shirt or two, maybe hand-crafted jewelry or traditional artwork, or even a bottle or two of local wine or alcohol. Or maybe 298 pieces of counterfeit consumer items.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized counterfeit consumer goods, appraised at more than $500,000 if authentic, from a Laurel, Maryland woman on May 24, 2022.
Some of the 298 counterfeit items that CBP officers discovered in a woman's baggage.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport completed the seizure on Tuesday, a seizure of counterfeit merchandise in a passenger’s baggage that appraised at more than $500,000, if the items were authentic.

This seizure started about six weeks earlier when CBP officers referred a Laurel, Maryland woman to a secondary baggage inspection after she arrived on a flight from South Korea on April 10.

She stated that she returned from Thailand with six pieces of luggage, but declared, both verbally and in writing, that she did not purchase any merchandise on her trip. However, when airline employees brought the woman’s baggage to the CBP inspection area, they presented 12 bags that were tagged to the traveler. Then CBP officers discovered newly purchased and potentially counterfeit clothing in the first two bags that they inspected.

When CBP officers completed their inspection of all 12 bags, the amount of potentially counterfeit clothing they found covered four inspection tables. In total, CBP officers detained 298 pieces of clothing, scarves, hats, shoes, and jewelry bearing designed brand names of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Prada, Gianni Versace and others.

CBP officers inventoried all 298 items and submitted documentation to CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise, which are the agency’s trade experts, for a final determination and an appraisal.

On May 23, CBP import specialists confirmed that the items as counterfeit and appraised the shipment at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $509,431, had the items been authentic.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport seized counterfeit consumer goods, appraised at more than $500,000 if authentic, from a Laurel, Maryland woman on May 24, 2022.
The counterfeit haul included these designer brand name bracelets.

CBP officers seized the shipment on May 24. CBP is withholding the traveler’s name because she has not been criminally charged.

“Customs and Border Protection officers sometimes encounter counterfeit consumer goods in passenger baggage, but rarely at this brazen volume,” said Daniel Escobedo, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C. “The international trade in counterfeit consumer goods is illegal. It steals revenues from trademark holders, steals tax revenues from the government, funds transnational criminal organizations, and the unregulated products potentially threaten the health and safety of American consumers.”

The last time officers saw such a volume was last fall when officers seized more than $1 million in counterfeit consumer goods packed inside the luggage of two women who arrived from Qatar. 

CBP encourages all travelers to learn rules governing what they can and cannot bring to the United States at CBP’s Know Before You Go webpage.

CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program. During fiscal year 2021, CBP and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) seized  over 27,000  shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was $3.3 billion, or an average of about $9 million every day.

Moreover, HSI special agents arrested 388 individuals during 2021, obtained 155 indictments, and received 100 convictions related to intellectual property crimes.

Media can mine additional details at CBP’s annual counterfeit goods seizure reports.

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.

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.

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.

Last Modified: May 27, 2022