The Los Angeles Port Police has broken up an illegal operation selling counterfeit iPhones, iPods, PSPs, and other gadgets. The $10 million operation included seized products worth an estimated street value of more than $1.4 million, stolen electronics, toys, and blankets worth about $2.5 million, and bank account receipts showing that the operation had generated more than $7 million in profits until it was shut down.
"This was a well-funded operation, and the counterfeits looked very authentic," Ron Boyd, chief of the LA police force, told the Los Angeles Times. "Our layered, multi-agency approach to security and theft investigations led to success. We're proud of the teamwork that happens on a continuous basis to thwart consumer fraud, keep our port safe and enable our agencies to pursue cases to fruition and criminal prosecution."
The case began with stolen cargo that led officials to several downtown Los Angeles and Vernon locations in December 2010 and January 2011. Brothers (name removed), 40, and (name removed), 45, have been arrested in LA. (name removed) has been charged with three felony counts of the sale of counterfeit goods while (name removed) has been charged with one felony count of the same crime.
A buyer might not have noticed anything wrong with the products until he or she got home and tried to hook it up with his or her computer. The goods were shipped from Asia as parts meant to be reassembled and labeled before being sold. In addition to LA officials, the investigation also involved the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, the Border Enforcement Security Task Force, the California Highway Patrol's Cargo Theft Interdiction Program, and the Vernon Police Department.