TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As part of the U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Fiscal Year 2021 prioritization of enforcement actions the Kansas City Port of Entry conducted Operation Stop the Flow from February 15 to March 15 to interrupt the flood of counterfeits that threaten public safety.
The operation was intended to help protect the public, U.S. economic interests and corporations.
The officers were inspecting selected shipments for potential violations. CBP examined parcels arriving from many locations, but the primary focus was merchandise exported from the People’s Republic of China or Hong Kong via express consignment. CBP’s primary focus of the operation was public safety concentrating on counterfeit medical equipment or supplies.
During the 28 days officers inspected 952 shipments and made 25 seizures. While some of the shipments were medical items such as adulterated medications and animal vaccines, officers also seized 469 counterfeit professional sports jerseys and 163 counterfeit designer handbags, sunglasses, counterfeit electronics, and controlled substances. The shipments were arriving from China, Laos, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and other locations. The shipments were destined for businesses and residential addresses across the U.S. If the items were real, they would have had a MSRP of $504,000.
“This just goes to show you how criminals are using the mail system to ship their items to unsuspecting consumers endangering their personal health and safety, as well as damaging our economy,” said Steve Ellis, Port Director-Kansas City. “I want to congratulate our officers for the outstanding job they did during this operation. CBP is the first line of defense and we will continue to protect the health and safety of consumers.”
The rapid growth of e-commerce enables consumers to search for and easily purchase millions of products through online vendors, but this easy access gives counterfeit and pirated goods more ways to enter the U.S. economy. U.S. consumers spend more than $100 billion every year on intellectual property rights (IPR) infringing goods, falling victim to approximately 20% of the counterfeits that are illegally sold worldwide.
Commonly, these goods are sold in underground outlets and on third party e-commerce websites. Counterfeit commodities fund smugglers and members of organized crime. Consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but soon realize the item is substandard.
CBP Trade protects the intellectual property rights of American businesses through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program, safeguarding them from unfair competition and use for malicious intent while upholding American innovation and ingenuity. Suspected violations can be reported to CBP here.
Every year, CBP seizes millions of counterfeit goods from countries around the world as part of its mission to protect U.S. businesses and consumers. These goods include fake versions of popular products, such as smartphones and related accessories, electronics, apparel, shoes, cosmetics, and high-end luxury goods, as well as goods posing significant health and safety concerns, such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals, bicycle and motorcycle helmets, medical devices, supplements and other consumables. Sold online and in stores, counterfeit goods hurt the U.S. economy, cost Americans their jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and fund criminal activity. Visit the National IPR Coordination Center for more information about IPR including counterfeiting and piracy.
Nationwide in Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was nearly $1.3 billion. CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at https://www.cbp.gov/FakeGoodsRealDangers.
CBP has established an educational initiative, Truth Behind Counterfeits, to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. The agency encourages anyone with information about counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States to submit an e-Allegation. The e-Allegation system provides a means for the public to anonymously report to CBP any suspected violations of trade laws or regulations related to the importation of goods in the U.S.