Counterfeit items and weapons seized, 3 arrested after warehouse raid

LAPD Headquaters
City Hall reflected on the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
(Nick Agro / For The Times)

Police arrested three people and seized illegal weapons during a raid last week on a downtown warehouse stocked with over 660,000 counterfeit items, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Detectives from a unit that investigates counterfeit operations executed a search warrant Thursday at the warehouse on the 500 block of Towne Avenue, police said. The move came after investigators observed a “manufacturing and distribution operation for counterfeit vape that included several well-known brands,” according to an LAPD news release.

Vape devices use battery power to turn liquids infused with nicotine or other substances into aerosols that can be inhaled.

During the search, detectives also found three illegal assault weapons, one of which is a “ghost gun,” meaning it lacks an origin and serial numbers, the statement said.

An officer for LAPD’s commercial crimes division refused to identify the three people who were taken into custody during the raid, saying doing so would jeopardize an ongoing investigation. The people were arrested on suspicion of possession of illegal assault weapons and counterfeiting, the officer said.

Along with the vape knock-offs, the counterfeit items included “imitation hats, beanies, T-shirts, footwear and video games that are in violation of registered trademarks.” If authentic and sold at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, the items would have been worth more than $7 million, police said.

Counterfeit products “may be hazardous to your health,” the news release noted. “Manufacturers of counterfeit products are not beholden to the same rigorous materials and testing standards.”