The game has truly changed because of the constant and hard hitting enforcement actions by law enforcement. Counterfeiters are changing the way and where they operate as the LAPD’s Piracy Unit recently learned. The Unit was investigating a large scale manufacturer and distributer of counterfeit merchandise. An undercover was able to infiltrate the operation and was invited to their “factory” where the counterfeit goods were being produced.

The undercover had no idea that the counterfeiters had set up shop in an apartment unit that was located near the Santee Alley area of Los Angeles. When the undercover entered the apartment, he was amazed at the operation. The subjects were silk-screening shirts and also doing heat transfers. The subjects had thousands of labels and the other needed items to produce clothing items. They had a full scale counterfeit factory set up inside the apafin side.

The undercover made numerous buys from the subjects. The UC learned from the subjects that they set up their operation inside the apartment because the cops had been busting everyone that had been operating from commercial locations, so they decided an apartment was a great idea. It might have been but for the fact that the LAPD is hot on the trail of counterfeiters in downtown Los Angeles.

The LAPD served a warrant at the location and recovered all the counterfeit items and the machines to make the items. They arrested two subjects, one of which has been in the counterfeit business for over 15 years. They were charged with felonies and are awaiting trial.

As is the norm with most of our cases, we instructed the UC in the case to contact one of the subjects after his arrest to see if he was still selling counterfeit merchandise. Well guess what; two weeks after his arrest, one of the subjects again sold our UC more counterfeit merchandise. He told the UC he had to be very careful who he sold too because someone had snitched on him. He told the UC that he trusted him and knew he was not a snitch, so he would continue to sell to him.

The LAPD will again be going after the subject. I guess the second time might be the charm. The counterfeiters are taking extra steps to avoid detection and arrest, however sooner or later, their number will come up and they will get taken down. We just have to think outside the box and try to stay one step ahead.

By Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants


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