Customs Seizes 2,000 Unapproved, Counterfeit Face Masks

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized over 2,000 counterfeit face masks earlier this month at the Ports of New Orleans and Shreveport, Louisiana. The face masks featured logos from the high-end fashion designer brands Gucci, Chanel, Burberry and Supreme. Customs agents also seized counterfeit 3M covers sent from South Korea to Chicago. Since face masks help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the agency said it was more important than ever to make sure fake covers do not reach Americans.

In the Louisiana cases, Customs said a shipment of 1,208 face masks with Burberry, Guddi, and Supreme logos were discovered in New Orleans on June 9. The following day, 990 face masks with Chanel logos were seized in Shreveport. The shipments were sent from China and Vietnam and had counterfeit trademarks.

In a statement on June 17, CBP Port of New Orleans Director Terri Edwards said the seizures were significant for two reasons. "The significance of these seizures is two-fold. On one hand, our officers have kept potentially harmful counterfeit items from being introduced into the U.S. commerce," Edwards explained. "We must do our part to keep the American public protected, especially in the wake of COVID-19. Also, by seizing these shipments, our officers protected the intellectual property rights of legitimate businesses, keeping their trademarks from being used maliciously."

Last week, Customs announced agents seized a shipment of 240 counterfeit 3M 8822 Plus masks from South Korea on May 30. The load went through an x-ray machine, and agents noticed several inconsistencies. The packages were sent to a 3M authenticator, and they were later determined to be fake. The retail price on the real masks is $813 each.

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The fake 3M masks were bound for a home in Buffalo Grove, a suburb north of Chicago. "Criminals are exploiting consumers during the ongoing pandemic for sheer greed," Shane Campbell, Area Port Director, Chicago, said. "These counterfeit masks may not meet safety standards, which puts the public at risk, jeopardizing the health and well being of everyone. CBP officers are highly trained and work diligently to protect the people of the United States."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending Americans wear face masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus to others because it is possible to have the coronavirus without showing symptoms. As of Monday night, there are now 2.58 million Americans who have tested positive for the coronavirus during the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 126,000 Americans have died from complications of COVID-19.