U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport seized 14,806 pairs of counterfeit Nike shoes with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of about $2.2 million.
The CBP officers coordinated the seizure with the agency’s import specialists assigned to the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles Center of Excellence, as well as special agents from Homeland Security Investigations.
The fake Nike shoes were discovered in two containers from China, which were mis-declared as “napkins,” CBP said in an Oct. 9 press release.
CBP’s import specialists worked with Nike (NYSE: NKE) to confirm that the shoes were in violation of the company’s Air Jordan 1 Off-White, Air Jordan 12, Air Jordan 1 (blue, black, red, white), Air Jordan 11, Air Max ’97 protected designs and trademarks.
Special edition Nike shoes are valued by sports shoe collectors, and legitimate pairs can sell from $1,500 and $2,000 online.
LaFonda Sutton-Burke, CBP’s port director at the L.A./Long Beach seaport, said the counterfeiting of brand-name shoes is “a multimillion dollar criminal industry.”
“The trafficking of these items is extremely lucrative and becomes more profitable in markets involving successful and popular products,” Sutton-Burke added.
Through its Truth Behind Counterfeits program, CBP has stepped up its efforts to educate consumers about the dangers and consequences of purchasing counterfeit and pirated goods.
According to CBP’s latest figures, the agency seized 34,143 shipments in fiscal year 2017, an 8% increase over fiscal year 2016. The value of the goods, if they were genuine, would be $1.2 billion.
In fiscal year 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement also arrested 457 individuals, obtained 288 indictments and received 240 convictions related to intellectual property crimes.