By LUKE BARR, ABC News
(EL PASO, TEXAS) — More than 100,000 counterfeit 3M N95 masks worth about $600,000 were seized at a warehouse in El Paso, Texas, federal authorities said.
The counterfeit PPE was en route to a hospital on the East Coast, according to a statement released Wednesday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Officers intercepted the shipment at Ysleta Cargo Facility on Dec. 3.
ICE and CBP, which fall under the Department of Homeland Security, in April launched “Operation Stolen Promise” with the aim of stopping counterfeit COVID-19 products from entering the U.S. According to ICE, the operation has yielded more than 187 arrests and $28 million dollars in recovered assets.
“HSI will continue to aggressively investigate, arrest and prosecute criminal counterfeiters who show a total disregard for human life and take advantage of a relentless world pandemic for economic gain,” Erik P. Breitzke, acting special agent in charge of HSI El Paso, said in the statement.
Ysleta Port Director Arnoldo Gomez added: “This large seizure of counterfeit surgical masks, destined for frontline medical workers, demonstrates the great collaborative effort between CBP and HSI.”
In July, HSI’s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center told reporters that more than 50% of all counterfeit goods were coming from China.
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