Port officials have seized a record $1 billion in counterfeit goods coming into L.A. this year

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer holds a counterfeit Dior shirt while he inspects boxes of products
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer inspects boxes of counterfeit products at the Los Angeles / Long Beach Seaport complex on Thursday in Carson.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Authorities have seized $1 billion in counterfeit goods shipped to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport so far this year, more than in any other year in history, Customs and Border Patrol announced.

The 10-figure number assigned to the haul is slightly misleading, representing how much money authorities believe the goods would have sold for if they were genuine and sold at retail value, federal officials said.

“These illicit goods often fund criminal activities and organized crime,” said Carlos C. Martel, director of field operations for CBP in Los Angeles. CBP commits substantial resources in intercepting and seizing products that infringe intellectual property rights such as trademarks, copyrights and patents.

Martel said that the value of the goods was so high because smugglers have been exploiting consumers’ increased demand for products online. Smugglers have typically sold products on illegal websites or in person in the past, but now they can also pose as legitimate sellers on massive e-commerce sites, federal officials said.


Authorities reminded consumers that the purchase of the illicit products often supports criminal enterprises, and could make buyers complicit in human trafficking or forced labor.

The Port of Los Angeles reached the $1-billion mark Sept. 15, outpacing the total amount of seized goods from 2021 by 38% with months left in the year, officials said.

In 2021, CBP seized $3.3 billion in counterfeit goods nationwide in more than 27,000 seizures, the agency said.