POSTED: Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 7:06pm
UPDATED: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 10:53am
EL PASO- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations announced the seizure of more than 327,000 counterfeit items in the U.S.
In El Paso, ICE- Homeland Security Investigations special agents seized 1,442 items with an estimated worth of $245, 330. "This is hurting American businesses and taking jobs away from American citizens. It's also a possible funneling of funds to organized crime organization and the third thing is this can cause a safety risk in your homes because of items that may be hazardous," said Special Agent Dennis A. Ulrich. He says a lot of times consumers don't even realize they're buying counterfeit goods. " We do find them at swap meets, flea markets..I wouldn't say we find them I find them at reputable like large chain stores but we do find them at small stores here in El Paso, like mom and pop type operations."
Nan Napier is the owner of Tres Mariposas, a high end retail store in El Paso. She says the counterfeit business doesn't hugely affect her store. "It's always gonna be there because imitation is the biggest form of flattery. There will always be the people at the low end trying to make a buck knocking off the people at the high end. So a discerning customer immediately knows the real from a knock off and she wants the real."
As a result of this investigation, two people have been indicted for selling counterfeit goods. Federal and local law enforcement targeted sixty six cities across the country during the investigation.