An example of the masks seized by CBP officers in Cincinnati. (CBP)

CBP Stops Counterfeit Masks in Significant Seizures

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have stopped two large shipments of counterfeit masks recently. Counterfeit products are not subjected to the same rigorous quality control standards as the genuine products.

In Louisville on January 5, CBP halted a shipment from Vietnam that contained more than 5,700 designer face masks. The officers detained the shipment heading to a residence in North Carolina and inspected the parcel to determine the admissibility of its contents in accordance with CBP regulations.

Inside officers found 5,789 face masks appearing to be from fashion designers such as Coach, Tory Burke, Chanel and others. The face masks were reviewed by an import specialist who determined the items were counterfeit. If these items were real, the total retail price would have been more than $1.4 million.

 “On a daily basis, criminals try to send fake designer products in hopes of disrupting our economy,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director-Louisville. “These masks were inspected and found to be counterfeit. Our officers are highly trained by industry experts and will continue to seize these items to protect consumers and other industries.”

And in Cincinnati, CBP officers closed out 2020 with another significant seizure of counterfeit masks that were packaged advertising protection against communicable respiratory diseases.

Just before Christmas, the officers inspected a shipment from China that contained 21 shipping boxes of masks labeled as 3M Mask Model 1860. Officers noted the information provided with the shipment did not meet the requirements of the 3M Safe Guard product authentication process, and the boxes were labeled as made in the United States although they were being imported from a consumer electronics company in Shenzhen, China. The masks were ultimately determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise.

“Our officers are not only protecting the integrity of the American economy through trademark enforcement, they are preventing potentially dangerous and faulty masks from being distributed to our frontline medical personnel,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “This underscores how counterfeiters completely disregard the human lives while padding their bank accounts.”

The masks were headed to a sales company in Union City, California, and would have had a retail price of $65,520 had they been genuine.

These two CBP seizures follow the shipment of more than 100,000 counterfeit 3M N95 surgical masks destined to be used by hospital workers that were stopped at the Ysleta Cargo Facility, earlier in December.

 

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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