U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials seized nearly $1.7 million in counterfeit sports team merchandise from a shipment at the Port of Charleston.
Officers discovered the 36,000 pieces of Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association clothes and gear in a container they selected for screening in October, according to CBP officials. The merchandise bore fake teams logos, including those of the New York Yankees, the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins.
Officials listed the loot's domestic value at about $182,000 but with a suggested retail price totaling nearly $1.7 million.
Supervisory officer Brian Welsh said the investigation remains open. He declined to release further information about the shipment.
Welsh said CBP officers have intercepted more shipments violating intellectual property law lately, a trend he attributed to the sluggish economy. The CBP on Monday released its year-end results from the 19 entry ports within the Atlanta-based district, including the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia. Those interceptions included about 4,300 pounds of marijuana and 209 pounds of cocaine.
Officers also prevented nearly 8,000 inadmissible people and nearly 10,000 agricultural pests from entering the country, including a leaf bug on a shipment of ceramic tile arriving in Charleston from Italy -- the first such interception in the United States.
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