U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), along with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, seized 3,082 counterfeit items with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of more than $1 million from a Baton Rouge business last week. The seized items included counterfeit designer clothing and electronics.
HSI and the Attorney General’s office executed a search warrant at Fashion Express, located on Airline Highway, following an HSI investigation that included multiple undercover buys of counterfeit merchandise. HSI served at least two warning letters to the business regarding the illegal sale of counterfeit merchandise prior to the seizure operation.
“Criminals who sell counterfeit products are parasites on the legitimate businesses that drive our economy,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer Jr. “The profits of black-market counterfeit sales are routinely diverted to support further criminal activity such as drug trafficking, money laundering and even potential terrorism.” Parmer oversees a five-state area of responsibility including Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Some of the counterfeit trademarked items seized during the operation include Michael Kors, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Coach and Polo merchandise. While searching the premises, HSI special agents also discovered thousands of counterfeit name-brand tags and labels that indicate counterfeit merchandise was being assembled inside the store.