Chicago CBP seizes counterfeit vapes

Customs and Border Protections (CBP)  officers at Chicago O’Hare’s International Mail Branch intercepted more than 77,000 vapes that violated copyright and trademark laws.

The vape pens carried branding of the popular carton duo Rick and Morty, which is owned by Warner Bros. CBP officers contacted the company about the suspicious shipment and Warner Bros confirmed it had not licensed copyright for vape pens.

If they were a genuine product, the pens would have an estimated value of around $1.55m, according to CBP. The pens were shipped from Shenzhen in China and were destined for a distribution company in Georgia.

“Often CBP seizes vape pens because they violate FDA guidelines, but these parcels violate copyright laws which adds to the charges and complexity of the case,” according to Shane Campbell, Area Port Director-Chicago.

“Counterfeit products are unsafe for consumers, harm the economy, damage the revenue and image of the companies, and could cost American jobs.”

There is thought to be high volumes of illegal vapes in the illicit supply chain, which is particularly concerning given the outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the US that peaked in 2019.

Counterfeit and unapproved vaping products pose a very serious health concern to users as they are likely manufactured in unregulated facilities with unverified ingredients, according to the FDA.

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