U.S. custom officials recently seized nearly 3,000 fake driver’s licenses—including one shipment going to a convicted child rapist —all of which were sent from China.
The six intercepted shipments, heading to different individuals in the New York area, contained 2,909 counterfeit driver’s licenses and 3,123 blank card stocks used to make fake licenses, according to a Nov. 25 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release.
One of the shipments was bound for a convicted child rapist in the New York area, who officials suspect “entices minors with alcohol and counterfeit IDs before engaging in illicit activity,” CBP said.
The IDs were for various states, including Florida, Michigan, Illinois. Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, and a few other coastal states.
CBP authorities in Louisville also notified their Merphis office of shipments destined for that area, which resulted in an additional 527 fake identification cards being seized.
Thomas Mahn, CBP director for Louisville Port, said that the uses of fake IDs were far beyond underage drinking. These include “identity theft, worksite enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, fraud linked to immigration-related crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking,” he said.
Mahn added that the documents could enable “those individuals associated with terrorism to minimize scrutiny from travel screening measures.”
A March study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that the United States was the country most affected by counterfeit goods in 2016, with 24 percent of the fake products seized worldwide infringing its brands or patents.
The report also identified China as the main source of counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for more than 80 percent of the global fake products seizures in 2016. It also found that China and Hong Kong accounted for $322 billion of counterfeit or pirated product exports worldwide, making up around 63.4 percent of the global total.
Counterfeit Toothbrush Heads
In another recent seizure, CBP officers on Nov. 7 seized 20,400 counterfeit Oral-B toothbrush heads in Philadelphia designated to Delran, New Jersey.
The seizure came a month after the officers flagged an air cargo shipment for examination. The authorities said that they detained the shipment upon noticing the “poor packaging and questionable quality,” which raised suspicions that it might contain counterfeit goods, according to a Nov. 27 press release.
The shipment consisted of 1,200 10-pack and 2,800 3-pack toothbrush heads that had the Oral-B brand logo.
Authentic products of the same brand would carry a total retail price of $95,600, the release said.
CBP warned that counterfeit goods could pose a serious health threat to consumers.
“Counterfeit brush heads are manufactured in unsanitary facilities with substandard materials that may sicken users or cause bleeding to a user’s gums or mouth, and structural defects may cause the brush head to detach and potentially choke users,” the agency said.