A passenger arriving at Dulles International Airport last week was bringing in a bag of watches and other items worth more than a quarter-million dollars. Or, they would have been if they were real.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Thursday said they found 18 watches, which bore designer names such as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Cartier and Rolex, as well as a fake Louis Vuitton handbag and Ray-Ban sunglasses, all in the suitcase of a traveler from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who arrived at Dulles from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 20.
The CBP said in a statement that they held on to the items and let the traveler go, then worked with their Consumer Products and Mass Merchandise Center of Excellence and Expertise, determining they were indeed fakes. They were made in China, and the traveler bought them in Pakistan. They would have been worth about $254,000, the agency said.
“Customs and Border Protection remains committed to protecting U.S. businesses and consumers by intercepting counterfeit and potentially harmful goods that help fund transnational criminal groups,” said Daniel Escobedo, CBP’s area port director for the area port of D.C.
CBP said in the statement that they seized more than 20,000 counterfeit items in fiscal 2021. If they’d been authentic, they’d have been worth more than $2 billion.