It all started with a lead from a citizen informant and lead to the “take down” of the largest manufacturing facility that had been producing all types of counterfeit merchandise for the past ten years in Southern California. The lead came into the LAPD’s Anti Piracy Unit simply as a non-descript warehouse type building in the City of Lynwood, California that was producing large quantities of counterfeit True Religion jeans along with other clothing items. This information was passed on to Investigators to determine the credibility of the information and if the location was authorized to produce the trademarked items. An undercover Investigator was assigned to the case and after a while, was able to gain the trust of the factory owners by posing as a customer that wanted to have her own line of clothing produced. The subject’s jumped at the chance to do business with her and offered to show her around their factory. Not a very smart decision on their part. The undercover Investigator received a “tour” of the majority of the facility when she saw the subject’s making various types of counterfeit merchandise inside. The Investigator was overwhelmed with what she observed. The Investigator revisited the location on several occasions, and each time observed counterfeit activity taking place inside. The Investigator was also able to make multiple undercover purchases from the subjects of various counterfeit items. The information was provided to the LAPD, who also determined that illicit activity was taking place at the location. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the location and soon after, the warrant was served. I don’t think the LAPD or anyone else realized the true scope of the massive operation until seeing it for themselves.
The facility was equipped with three massive embroidery machines, two 20 head machines, 15 head machine, multiple sewing machines used to make counterfeit True Religion Jeans. The location also had a silk screening operation which included a multi station silk screening machine and a large dryer. The subjects had hundreds of silk screens with countless counterfeit designs. The operation was extremely impressive and was a “one stop shop” to manufacture any type of counterfeit clothing items. The operator of the factory was arrested and quickly charged with trademark counterfeiting. The subject pleaded guilty and was subsequently sentenced. Great job LAPD!