Jamaica, N.Y. – An inspection by CBP officers at New York’s JFK International Airport in January, led to an investigation that resulted in the arrest of three men and the seizure of nearly $2 million in counterfeit cell phones.
The investigation, dubbed “Operation: Long Distance Haul” was initiated after the officers discovered a shipment of cell phones shipped loose in cardboard boxes with no packaging. Officers suspected they might be counterfeit. Samples were sent to the actual manufacturers including Motorola, HTC and Casio who confirmed they were not authentic.
Agents from Homeland Security Investigations partnered with detectives from the Nassau County Police Department and conducted surveillance on two warehouses used to process the fake phones. Warrants were issued and 32,000 counterfeit phones were discovered in two locations. Safety deposit boxes containing nearly $500,000 were also seized.
“The men and women of CBP protect our nation’s economy, the safety of its people, and our national security against the harm of counterfeit and pirated goods. We are very proud to have partnered with HSI and the Nassau County Police Department to detect and seize these counterfeit cell phones, leading to the apprehension of these conspirators,” said Mr. Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations New York.
All three men are being charged with Trademark Counterfeiting in the Second Degree and all the defendants face four years in prison, if convicted. The case will be prosecuted by the Office of the District Attorney, Nassau County.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.