Almost $13M in Counterfeit Erectile Dysfunction Pills, Designer Apparel Seized in California

Almost $13 million worth of counterfeit erectile dysfunction pills and apparel was recently seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in California.

The officers—with the assistance of CBP's import specialists in consumer products and mass merchandising, footwear and textiles, and pharmaceuticals, health and chemicals—confiscated the 57,607 counterfeit products at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.

The items, which had arrived from China, consisted of 47,490 counterfeit Cialis pills and 10,117 pieces of apparel and footwear, the CBP said in a press release.

CBP said that the pieces of apparel were in violation of "Christian Dior, Versace, Gucci, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Nike Air and Swoosh designs and registered and recorded trademarks."

Under the law, CBP officers can "detain, seize, forfeit, and ultimately destroy merchandise" brought into the U.S. if it uses an infringing trademark or copyright that has already been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office.

If the seized merchandise were genuine, it would have an "estimated manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $12,709,782," the CBP said.

Counterfeit items like the ones seized are widely available on illegitimate websites and in underground markets, the CBP noted. Counterfeit items provide smugglers and traffickers with increased profits, as consumers believe they are buying genuine products at a lower price, the law enforcement agency said.

After the products were seized, CBP officers turned over the products to the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) Commercial Crimes Division, Illicit Pharmaceutical and Counterfeit Unit (IPCU), for further investigation.

"CBP along with our HSI and LAPD strategic partners form a united front against transnational criminal organizations who attempt to smuggle counterfeit goods that can threaten the health and safety of U.S. consumers, as well as the competitiveness of American businesses," said Carlo Martel, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. HSI refers to Homeland Security Investigations, the principal investigative arm of the federal Department of Homeland Security.

Lillian Carranza, head of the LAPD's Commercial Crimes Division, said in a press release that "the primary goal of the LAPD's IPCU is to identify and disrupt the manufacture, sales and distribution of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and merchandise."

Donald Krusser, the CBP's Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport port director, applauded the CBP officer's efforts to seize the products. "One important aspect of CBP's vast mission is to protect American consumers and industry from trade fraud," he said.

Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers recently seized nearly $13 million worth of counterfeit erectile dysfunction pills and designer apparel items at a California seaport. Customs and Border Protection/Customs and Border Protection

According to CBP data, at least 26,503 shipments of counterfeit products were seized by officers in 2020. If genuine, the products would be worth nearly $1.3 billion.

Newsweek was directed to CBP's press release after reaching out for comment.