Operation Holiday Hoax Nets $77 Million in Counterfeit Goods
Thirty-three people were arrested — 30 in the United States and three in South Korea — and charged with counterfeit-goods trafficking, as part of Operation Holiday Hoax.
During the six-week operation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the government of Mexico, along with state and local law enforcement, worked with trademark holders to target stores, flea markets, swap meets involved in the importation, distribution and selling of counterfeit and pirated products in 66 cities across the United States, in Seoul, South Korea, and in 55 Mexican cities.
Additionally, CBP officers conducted inspections and seized counterfeit merchandise at various U.S. ports of entry, which led to subsequent investigations and enforcement actions by ICE HSI special agents. In each U.S. operation, the trademark holders verified the seized products were counterfeit or pirated.
“Counterfeiting remains a significant problem that demands strong enforcement efforts both here and abroad,” said ICE Director John Morton. “This year’s success during Operation Holiday Hoax was as a result of the close partnership with the governments of Mexico and South Korea, and I’d like to thank them for their continued assistance in this fight. Together, we’ve dealt a significant blow to counterfeiters worldwide while making a positive impact on American jobs here at home.”
Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 16, ICE HSI special agents and law enforcement officers seized counterfeit products in the United States, including toys, cell phones and chargers, handbags, DVDs, perfume, integrated circuits, wallets, computer software, and sports jerseys.
More than 845 inspections were conducted at main ports of entry, executing 160 search warrants in Mexico, and seizing 23.8 million pieces of counterfeit items, including cigarettes, tools, DVDs, toys, electronics, cell phone accessories and 10 tons of clothing that were illegally introduced into Mexico. The estimated value of these seized items is $7.1 million in U.S. currency, which is the equivalent to 96.7 million pesos. No arrests were made in connection with Mexico’s portion of the operation.