Feds seize $21m-worth of fake NFL merchandise

ICE/HSI agentFederal agencies in the US have seized more than $21.6m-worth of counterfeit National Football League (NFL) merchandise in the build-up to the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Speaking at an NFL news conference, officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) revealed that more than 50 people had been arrested since the crackdown started in June, while 5,000 websites had been taken down. 

Operation Team Player targeted international shipments of counterfeit merchandise as they entered the US, and agents swooped on warehouses, stores, flea markets, online vendors and street vendors over the course of the investigation.

More than 200,000 fake jerseys, ball caps, t-shirts, jackets and other souvenirs were among the counterfeit merchandise and clothing confiscated in the operation, which will continue until February 7.

"The risks of counterfeit products go beyond damaging the reputation of a name on a label; the US economy and American jobs are at risk with the purchase of seemingly harmless items," said CBP acting commissioner Thomas Winkowski.

"Ultimately, the cost of purchasing a fake product is much greater than the perceived savings."

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