Sour note: 85 counterfeit guitars seized during customs bust at Dulles

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Fake Gibsons, Fenders and other electric and acoustic guitars are among the stash of counterfeits confiscated at Dulles International Airport in Virginia recently.

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Some are signed with fake autographs of Angus Young of AC/DC and Gibson pioneer Les Paul.

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This is the second shipment of counterfeit guitars stopped at Dulles recently.

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The instruments had destinations in 31 states, with 10 going to California, four to Virginia, three each to Pennsylvania and New Jersey and two to West Virginia.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection found 85 counterfeit guitars coming in from China on March 31, but it took a few months for investigators to determine that the guitars violate guitar manufacturers’ trademark protections.

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Fake Gibsons, Fenders and other electric and acoustic guitars are among the stash of counterfeits confiscated at Dulles International Airport in Virginia recently.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection found 85 counterfeit guitars coming in from China on March 31, but it took a few months for investigators to determine that the guitars violate guitar manufacturers’ trademark protections.

Some are signed with fake autographs of Angus Young of AC/DC and Gibson pioneer Les Paul. The guitar supposedly autographed by Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash would have been appraised at $8,000, if authentic, according to a customs news release.

The instruments had destinations in 31 states, with 10 going to California, four to Virginia, three each to Pennsylvania and New Jersey and two to West Virginia.

“The international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens the competitiveness of American businesses and the livelihoods of U.S. workers while funding criminal activity,” Keith Fleming, customs acting director of field operations in Baltimore, said in a statement.

“More importantly, counterfeit goods pose a serious health and safety risk to American consumers. Customs and Border Protection, along with our law enforcement and consumer safety partners, remain committed to making it difficult and costly for unscrupulous vendors to take advantage of unsuspecting American consumers,” Fleming said.

This is the second shipment of counterfeit guitars stopped at Dulles recently. A bust in January involved 36 guitars from China; if authentic, they would have been worth nearly $160,000.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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