Puerto Rican police seize fake Novartis contact lenses29-Aug-2012
Police have seized 4,000 counterfeit FreshLook contact lenses and a host of other fake goods in raids in Puerto Rico.
The action brought together local police with teams at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) to capture fake goods worth a total of $18m.
The contact lenses seized in the operation were copies of a popular brand made by Novartis' Ciba VISION unit. Fake versions of the FreshLook lenses are known to be in circulation following a similar seizure in Singapore last year.
FDA and ICE acted as part of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in Washington which is made up of 21 agencies that share information and develop initiatives.
Working together the agencies seized counterfeit watches, trainers and other luxury items, as well the aforementioned fake contact lenses, during the execution of 17 federal search warrants. The searches targeted locations in one-tenth of the municipalities in Puerto Rico.
Angel Melendez, acting special agent, Homeland Security Investigations San Juan, said: "The illegal importation and sale of counterfeit goods is a significant problem that affects our economy, impacts American jobs and innovation [and] puts the public's health at risk."
Other brands seized in the operation included Coach, Gucci, Ray Ban, Michael Kors, Rolex, Bulgari, Hublot, Nautica, Tous, Tiffany & Co, and Nike. All told around 200,000 items among these brands were intercepted.
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