ugg slipper Counterfeit goods ring broken
in a ring that’s one of the largest such scams ever uncovered, federal officials said Friday. Attorney Paul Fishman said at a news conference. “The same channels and criminal networks that allow the entry of these goods provides the opportunity for the importation of other materials that threaten our health and safety.” Aside from UGG boots and cigarettes, the groups are accused of smuggling counterfeit Nike sneakers; fake Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Coach handbags; and other clothing items. Three defendants are also charged with conspiring to import 50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine. Twenty three people, including 19 in the New York New Jersey region,
were arrested and the others were being sought, Fishman said. Some of the defendants were scheduled to make initial court appearances in Newark on Friday afternoon. The defendants face a smorgasbord of charges including conspiracy, trafficking in counterfeit goods, evading financial reporting requirements, money laundering and importing methamphetamine. The drug charges carry maximum penalties of life in prison. in boxes that were deliberately mislabeled to keep shipping costs down. The goods came through the Port Newark Elizabeth Marine Terminal, the busiest port on the East Coast. From there, the goods were taken to warehouses in the area where co conspirators would remove generic outer labels to expose the counterfeit brand name labels, according to the indictment. The goods were then sold to wholesale and retail outlets. A tip received by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in northern Virginia led to an undercover effort that ultimately led to the arrests. attorney’s office,
federal agents set up a shipping company that presented itself as having connections at the New Jersey port to help the smuggling scheme.