(LOS ANGELES) — Customs and Border Protection agents at the country’s largest seaport seized more than 14,800 pairs of counterfeit Nike sneakers for trademark infringement after examining a shipment that arrived from China.
Agents at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach discovered the fake kicks in two containers that were “misdeclared as ‘napkins’ in a clear attempt to disguise the illicit cargo,” the CBP said in a statement Wednesday.
The shoes, which were seized for infringing on a protected trademark, would have had an estimated retail price of $2,247,680 if they were authentic.
Retro classics like the Air Jordan 1s Off-White, Air Jordan 11s and Air Max ’97s were among the designs targeted. Some of the shoes could go for as much as $2,000 on the online collectors scene, according to the CBP.
“These special edition Nike and retro designs are highly coveted by collectors and sport shoes enthusiasts. A legitimate pair can potentially sell for $1,500 and up to $2,000 online,” the CBP said in a statement. “Consumers shopping online are eventually likely to encounter fraudulent sellers.”
CBP Port Director of the LA/Long Beach Seaport LaFonda Sutton-Burke called the counterfeit shoe business a lucrative criminal industry that “becomes more profitable in markets involving successful and popular products” like Nike’s Jordan brand.
“Counterfeit brand-name shoes is a multi-million dollar criminal industry. The trafficking of these items is extremely lucrative and becomes more profitable in markets involving successful and popular products,” Sutton-Burke said. “CBP commits substantial resources to detect, intercept and seize illicit goods at our nation’s largest seaport.”
CBP agents at the Port of New York/Newark seized a shipment containing more than 9,000 counterfeit Nike sneakers from China last December. If genuine, those kicks would have been worth nearly $1.7 million, according to the CBP.
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