LOUISVILLE, Ky—During a 12-month timeframe, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville have seized thousands and thousands of packages that contain counterfeit items, agricultural pests, or narcotics shipped from criminals in the U.S. and overseas. In fiscal year 2022, which ran from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022, CBP officers in Louisville intercept more than $260 million worth of various counterfeit goods, over 21,000 pounds of illicit drugs and stopped over 10,500 prohibited plants and animal products from entering the U.S.
CBP officers at the Port of Louisville have been seeing their fair share of counterfeits on a nightly basis. A large majority of these counterfeits came from overseas locations, as criminals target consumers by selling substandard, and sometimes dangerous items, at top dollar prices. Officers seized an average of almost six packages a night of counterfeit items. Had the items been real, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of these items would have been almost $267.5 million. Some of the top seizures from last year involve officers finding:
- 860 counterfeit designer bracelets coming from Hong Kong to Florida,
- 5,652 pieces of counterfeit jewelry arriving also from Hong Kong and heading to Virginia,
- 1,438 pieces of counterfeit jewelry originating from Hong Kong bound for New York.
Had all these items been real the total MSRP for these three shipments would have been $10.13 million.
And some of the items that made the seized list were jewelry, footwear, bags/wallets, and electronics. The most seized item was clothing, 172 seizures. If the clothing was real, the MSRP would have been $17.9 million, however, the most expensive items seized were watches. Only 35 seizures were watches with an MSRP of $36.1 million.
“These past year’s seizures show the great job our CBP officers here in Louisville do,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director-Louisville. “Protecting the American economy protects the American people, and our officers continue to use their training, knowledge, and skills to identify high-risk shipments and shut down illicit suppliers.”
Another way CBP protects the economy, and the U.S. is by inspecting agricultural shipments as they enter the U.S. CBP Agriculture Specialists (CBPAS) assigned to the Port of Louisville issued 11,191 Emergency Action Notifications (EANs) during FY 2022. EANs alert trade entities of non-compliance with APHIS regulations. The EAN provides options for phytosanitary actions that must be taken to prevent the entry of plant pests, prohibited plant products, or animal products capable of introducing foreign animal diseases. CBPAS are the front line in the fight against the introduction of harmful insects and diseases into the U.S. They safeguard American agriculture by stopping plant pests and exotic foreign animal diseases that could harm vital agriculture resources at our nation’s borders.
But Louisville CBP just doesn’t stop there. Louisville CBP seized 2,826 shipments containing narcotics this year. This year the number one seized drug in Louisville was marijuana. Officers seized a total of 11,818 pounds of it. Although medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. States and Canada, the sale, possession, production, and distribution of marijuana all remain illegal under U.S. federal law. In second place was Methamphetamine as officers seized just shy of 2,400 pounds. Methamphetamine is a Schedule II substances under the Controlled Substances Act. Its abuse can lead to many adverse health consequences including cardiac arrhythmias, heart conditions, cardiac arrest, convulsions, stroke, and death. Rounding out the top three was steroids. Louisville CBP seized 926 pounds. Steroids are synthetically produced variants of naturally occurring hormones that are abused to produce muscle growth, enhance athletic or other physical performance, and improve physical appearance. And while the dangerous opioid Fentanyl was not in the top three, CBP stopped 372 pounds of this deadly drug at the port of entry; this is a 322% increase when compared to last years total.
“The work of our officers has been incredible and their dedication to CBP's enforcement mission is evident when you look at these seizures,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Criminals are persistent in their attempts to smuggle illegal items into the United States, however, through our hard work and vigilance we will continue to intercept these shipments at our port of entry before they can harm our communities."
CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.