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US customs officers seize counterfeit designer watches worth over $4 million in Kentucky

By Ashley R. Williams, CNN

(CNN) — US Customs and Border Protection officers in Kentucky say they intercepted millions of dollars worth of counterfeit designer watches last month.

Several shipments of the fake goods – which included Rolex, Omega and Cartier labels – were discovered at the Louisville shipping hub in July, according to a news release.

If the 130 watches contained in nine shipments from Hong Kong were real, they would have a suggested retail price of over $4.24 million, the customs agency reported.

CBP’s trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise found all of the watches were counterfeit. Fake watches are among the most commonly seized counterfeited items, according to the agency.

The shipment of watches also included devices labeled with Bvlgari, Patek Philippe, Hubolt and Audemars Piguet brands.

Authorities say most of the shipments were en route to Florida and other locations. All the watches were seized for infringing on protected trademarks, according to the release.

On a typical day in fiscal year 2022, CBP reported it seized $8 million worth of products with intellectual property rights violations.

“As consumers increasingly purchase from online or third-party vendors, our officers are at the frontline to guard against defrauders expecting to make money selling fake merchandise,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, CBP’s field operations director in Chicago.

During the previous fiscal year, the agency said it seized 153,810 counterfeit watches that would have had an estimated value of over $596 million if they were genuine.

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