Fake electronic goods valued at over $6.5M did not make it to U.S. commerce 


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Houston Seaport seized Apple AirPods and Nintendo video game consoles in early December for intellectual property rights (IPR) violations.

This shipment of counterfeit electronics would have a domestic value of over $2.6 million and a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of over $6.5 million had they been genuine.

CBP officers selected a shipment of goods arriving from China for inspection. When they opened the shipment, they discovered packages of Apple AirPods. After carefully examining the products, CBP officers noted the goods appeared to be illegitimate and sent them to import specialists for review. 

“All year round, our officers take great care inspecting arriving international goods to ensure they are not counterfeit or harmful to consumers,” said Houston/Galveston Area Port Director Roderick W. Hudson. “One of our agency’s missions is to prevent entry of illicit goods that could negatively impact our economy all while supporting legitimate trade.” 

CBP’s Electronics Center of Expertise and Excellence import specialists determined the electronic goods were counterfeit and Dec. 8, CBP officers seized the shipment containing 50,000 fake Apple AirPods and 920 fake Nintendo video game consoles for IPR and trademark violations. 

The dangers of counterfeit products are real. The creation of counterfeit goods can involve forced labor, human trafficking, or support other criminal enterprises. Many counterfeit products are low quality and can cause injuries or even death when used. Counterfeiters may use false reviews to obtain an unfair advantage over legitimate businesses, tricking you into buying fake, defective, or dangerous products.

During 2020, CBP officers seized over 3,000 consumer electronics with an estimated value over $162 million. Trade in illegitimate goods is associated with smuggling and other criminal activities, and often funds criminal enterprises.

Consumers can report suspected counterfeits via CBP’s e-Allegations Online Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. 

The shipment was turned over to CBP’s Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures branch for disposition.

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