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Tag: seizure

CBP Seizes 85 Counterfeit Guitars Worth More Than $250,000

Counterfeit guitars seized by CBP. Photo: CBP.

By Steve Neavling

At first sight, it was an impressive collection of guitars. 

But a closer look revealed that the 85 guitars, including a Les Paul purportedly autographed by Slash from Guns N’ Roses, were clever counterfeits. 

The shipment from China was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Washington Dulles International Airport earlier this month, the agency announced Monday.  

Experts at CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise worked with trademark holders to confirm the guitars were fakes. 

The collection included 72 Gibsons, along with models from CF Martin, Fender, Kramer and Taylor. Some bore counterfeited autographs from other renowned guitars such as Les Paul and AC/DC’s Angus Young. 

If the guitars were authentic, they would have had a manufacturer’s retail price of more than $250,000.  

It was the second significant seizure of counterfeit guitars at Dulles Airport this year. 

If not detected, the guitars would have gone to 31 states. 

“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,”  Keith Fleming, CBP’s acting director of field operations in Baltimore, said in a news release. “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.”

CBP seized an average of $3.6 million worth of counterfeit products per day last year. 

Border Patrol Seizes Record Amount of Fentanyl in Tucson Sector

Synthetic opioid tablets

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents have seized a record amount of fentanyl in the Tucson Sector.

So far in fiscal year 2020, the sector seized 57 pounds of the synthetic opioid, which is more than four times the amount seized last fiscal year, KTAR News reports.

Agents this week busted an 18-year-old Nevada woman smuggling more than 8 ounces of fentanyl at the Nogales Port of Entry.

“Really, it was a line of questioning and agent intuition which led to the person admitting that she was carrying these narcotics,” Agent Joe Curran said. “We’re just happy that this had the safest resolution for the person who was smuggling those narcotics, and there was no contamination to those agents or anybody.”

At least 32 fentanyl-related deaths have been reported by the Pima County Health Department.

CBP Seizes Fake Coronavirus Testing Kits at Chicago Airport

Fake coronavirus testing kits seized by CBP. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP officers intercepted a package of fake coronavirus testing kits at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, the agency announced Thursday.

The packages, which came from the U.K, were found at the airport’s mail facility and included prohibited medical drug kits, concluding ones for COVID-19.

“On March 17, 2020, CBP officers intercepted shipments containing ‘Test Kits’ for various viruses and diseases to include COVID-19,” the agency said in a news release. “Not all the COVID-19 test kits were in each parcel, and there was generally just one COVID-19 test kit within groups of other alleged test kits for meningitis, IVF, MRSA, onion, apple, salmonella and others.”

Authorities turned over the packages to the FDA.

“The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prohibits the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce, or the causing thereof, of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded,” the news release stated.

Authorities Seize Record-Breaking $134M Worth of Counterfeit Super Bowl Merchandise

Counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A record-breaking $134 million worth of counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise was seized in Miami ahead of the big game Sunday.

Authorities from CBP, ICE and Homeland Security Investigations targeted international shipments of the counterfeit merchandise, as well as flea markets, retail outlets and street vendors, as part of the ongoing sting Operation Team Player, which focuses on counterfeit sports merchandise. They seized fake jerseys, jewelry, hats, cell-phone accessories and thousands of other bogus items that were to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Last year, Operation Team Player seized $24.2 million worth of counterfeit sports merchandise.

“Every day, cargo containers containing billions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit goods enter the United States through its land, sea and air ports of entry,” Steve Francis, director of Homeland Security Investigations’ Intellectual Property Rights, said in a news release. “This year’s record-breaking ‘Operation Team Player’ results affirm HSI’s commitment to protecting American consumers, the economy, and legitimate business, by ensuring Super Bowl 54 is not compromised by transnational criminal networks exploiting fan enthusiasm for illicit profits. Sports fans from around the world, who’ve spent their hard-earned money to support their favorite NFL team, deserve to receive genuine, high-quality officially licensed merchandise in return.”

DEA Helps Seize 20 Tons of Drugs in ‘Largest Known Seizure of Heroin in Afghanistan’

DEA makes major drug bust in Afghanistan.

DEA makes major drug bust in Afghanistan.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA, with the help of American Special Forces and an Afghan counternarcotics, seized a whopping 20 tons of drugs in what officials have described as “the largest known seizure of heroin in Afghanistan, if not the world.”

“This drug seizure alone prevented not only a massive amount of heroin hitting the streets throughout the world but also denied the Taliban money that would have been used to fund insurgent activities in and around the region,” DEA spokesman Steven Bell told ABC News Thursday. 

The estimated street value was $60 million for 12.5 tons of morphine base, 6.4 tons of heroin base, 134 kilograms of opium, 129 kilograms of crystal heroin and 12 kilograms of hashish, all of which was seized during an Oct. 17 raid that was just made public.

“If that was Pablo Escobar‘s stash, that would be considered a lot of frickin’ heroin,” said one combat veteran of the DEA’s 11-year counternarcotics mission to blunt the country’s heroin trade, referring to the Medellin, Colombia, narcotics kingpin killed two decades ago. “That’s going to make a dent in the European market.”

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Has Seized More Than $203M in Cash at Airports, But Rarely Makes Arrests

money-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has seized more than $203 million in cash at 15 major airports as part of an effort to stop narcotics traffickers between 2005 and mid-2015.

But the USA Today found that the DEA rarely uses information to make arrests or build criminal cases.

In most cases, the DEA seized the money and gave the suspected drug couriers a receipt for cash without filing charges. At times, more than $50,000 has been confiscated.

Trouble is, it’s difficult for travelers to get their money back. Much of the cash is sent to local police departments to assist in the drug crackdown.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department Resumes Controversial Program That Lets Cops Seize Cash, Property

cash2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s controversial program that allows police to seize and keep cash and property from people who have never been convicted or even charged is resuming.

The Justice Department suspended the “equitable sharing” program last year because of budget cuts.

“In the months since we made the difficult decision to defer equitable sharing payments because of the $1.2 billion rescinded from the Asset Forfeiture Fund, the financial solvency of the fund has improved to the point where it is no longer necessary to continue deferring Equitable Sharing payments,” spokesman Peter J. Carr told the Washington Post. 

The program has a lot of critics who contend police become motivated “more by profit ad less by justice,” the Post wrote.

Asset forfeiture has exploded over the past several years, climbing from less than $1 bill in 2004 to more than $5 billion in 2014.

Other Stories of Interest

TSA Alarmed by Discovery of Real Gun the Size of a Keychain

Tiny gun seized by TSA

Tiny gun seized by TSA

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA has dealt with a record number of gun seizures at airports, but the latest discovery is one of the most unique and disturbing.

Patch reports that security found a real gun the size a key chain and seized the weapon.

“It is a very tiny gun, but it is very real,” Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman, tweeted.

The number of guns reported by TSA screeners increased 22% last year as security seized more than 2,200 firearms.

No more details of the tiny gun were available Tuesday morning.

Other Stories of Interest