MANHATTAN, NY – In the largest seizure of counterfeit goods in U.S. history, federal officials and the New York Police Department have confiscated more than $1 billion worth of fake designer merchandise. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York made the announcement on Wednesday.
The monumental operation took place in a Manhattan storage facility, where approximately 219,000 counterfeit items, including bags, clothing, shoes, and other luxury goods, were seized. Despite the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the counterfeit items amounting to over $1.03 billion, the actual street value of such goods is usually significantly lower.
Images released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office depict a warehouse overflowing with imitation designer bags of various brands, with other areas equally filled with more bags and clothes hanging from pipes. Another photo reveals a storage area packed with dozens of unopened boxes on pallets.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams confirmed the historic nature of the bust, stating, “The seizures announced today consist of merchandise with over a billion dollars in estimated retail value, the largest-ever seizure of counterfeit goods in U.S. history.” The operation was spearheaded by Homeland Security Investigations.
Two men, Adama Sow, 38, from Queens, and Abdulai Jalloh, 48, from Manhattan, were arrested in connection with the operation and have been charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods. If convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison. Officials claim the pair used the storage facility as a distribution center for the enormous quantity of counterfeit goods.
According to the indictment and other publicly accessible information, Sow and Jalloh operated a large-scale counterfeit goods trafficking operation from the storage facility from January 2023 through October 20. They are also accused of trafficking counterfeit goods from another location in Manhattan.
NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban emphasized the harm caused by the trafficking of counterfeit goods, stating, “The trafficking of counterfeit goods is anything but a victimless crime because it harms legitimate businesses, governments, and consumers.” He pledged a continued commitment to holding accountable those who profit from selling counterfeit items on the black market.
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