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Dulles CBP Silences 85 Guitars Out of Tune with U.S. Laws

Release Date: 
June 21, 2021

STERLING, Va. – The reviews are in and critics are raving about the recent encore performance by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport. Just five months after seizing 35 counterfeit guitars, CBP officers recently picked another 85 counterfeit guitars to the tune of about $260,000, if the guitars were authentic.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 85 counterfeit guitars on June 9, 2021 that were shipped from China and destined to addresses across the United States.
CBP seized 85 counterfeit guitars from China.

CBP officers inspected and detained the latest suspected counterfeit cache from China on March 31. Officers consulted with CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising experts at the agency’s Centers for Excellence and Expertise who worked with trademark holders and confirmed on May 28 that the guitars indeed violated guitar manufacturers’ trademark protections. Officers completed the seizure on June 9.

The collection consisted mostly of Gibson models (72 guitars), but also included models from CF Martin, Fender, Kramer and Taylor. CBP officers silenced 13 acoustic guitars among the lot. The highest value model was a Les Paul ax supposedly autographed by Guns and Roses guitarist Slash appraised at $8,000, if authentic. Other guitars bore autographs from renowned guitarist Les Paul and AC/DC’s Angus Young.

The entire lot of guitars would have had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $258,707 if they were authentic.

The guitars were destined to addresses in 31 states, with California as lead with 10 guitars. Locally, four were destined to Virginia, three each to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, two to West Virginia, and one to Delaware.

This is CBP’s second significant seizure this year of counterfeit guitars at Dulles Airport. During January, CBP officers seized 36 counterfeit guitars in another shipment from China that had an appraised MSRP of nearly $160,000.

“The international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens the competitiveness of American businesses and the livelihoods of U.S. workers while funding criminal activity,” said Keith Fleming, CBP’s Acting Director of Field Operations in Baltimore. “More importantly, counterfeit goods pose a serious health and safety risk to American consumers. Customs and Border Protection, along with our law enforcement and consumer safety partners, remain committed to making it difficult and costly for unscrupulous vendors to take advantage of unsuspecting American consumers.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 85 counterfeit guitars on June 9, 2021 that were shipped from China and destined to addresses across the United States.
This Fender Stratocaster claims to have been
"Made in the USA."

CBP encourages consumers to protect themselves and their families by always purchasing safe, authentic goods from reputable vendors.

CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of the American people.

On a typical day in 2020, CBP officers seized $3.6 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations. Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2020.

Read CBP’s Intellectual Property Seizure Report for Fiscal Year 2019 for more IPR stats and analysis. Fiscal Year 2019 is CBP’s most current completed IPR report.

CBP's border security mission is led at 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

Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore and on Instagram at @dfobaltimore for breaking news, current events, human-interest stories and photos.

Last modified: 
June 21, 2021