LAPD, US Customs Battle Counterfeit Goods Market, Multi-Billion Dollar Industry More Lucrative Than Drugs

In an era when terrorism and illegal narcotics pose a clear and present danger in urban America, why should U.S. law enforcement spend precious resources policing luxury handbags?
Because, authorities say, those fake handbags — and other counterfeit goods — are practically an ATM machine for organized crime.
“More than likely it’s going to finance some other illicit activity, whether it be terrorism, human trafficking, drugs or some such,” said Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervisor Bryan Nahodil as he surveyed some 16,000 fake Hermes bags seized in Los Angeles.
Counterfeit goods are more lucrative than drugs, according to officers with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Vice Division and the CBP.

Counterfeit goods account for nearly 10 percent of worldwide trade, an estimated $500 billion annually, according to the World Customs Organization.
U.S. Customs officers said the black market for fake handbags, shoes, purses and other luxury goods helps fund other crime rings, including drugs and human trafficking.

The CBP insists importing counterfeit goods is “the same as importing drugs or people.”

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