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The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced Dec. 22 that U.S. federal agents, in collaboration with the governments of Mexico and South Korea, had seized more than $80 million in counterfeit goods in a sting operation.
During the crackdown, which took place from Nov. 1 to Dec. 16, trademark holders worked with law enforcement to identify markets in which counterfeit products were being sold.
In a press statement, ICE claimed that the crackdown, titled “Operation Holiday Hoax II,” resulted in materials being seized from stores, flea markets and swap meets in 66 cities in the United States, 55 cities in Mexico, and locations in Seoul, South Korea. Items were also seized from various U.S. ports of entry, the statement said. In all cases, rights holders were asked to determine whether the seized goods were legitimate or pirated.
The first time that the operation was conducted, in December 2009, the seized goods had a retail value of $26 million.
John Morton, director of ICE, said in a statement that the operation's success “was a result of the close partnership with the governments of Mexico and South Korea.”
“Counterfeiting remains a significant problem that demands strong enforcement efforts both here and abroad,” Morton said.
The operation targeted both high tech items such as cell phones, computer software, and DVDs, as well as other goods, including sports jerseys, handbags and cigarettes.
Thirty-three arrests were made by U.S. agents and those defendants have been charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods.
More information on the operation can be found at http://www.ice.gov
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