Who says that counterfeiters don’t take extreme precautions not be to be caught? The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, CAPE Team and Agents from HSI’s Intellectual Property Rights Group learned this lesson once again. The CAPE team and HSI had identified a warehouse in Los Angeles that was distributing counterfeit goods to various vendors throughout the Southern California area.
They obtained a search warrant for the location and an arrest warrant for the subject that had made several sales of counterfeit goods to undercover investigators. The CAPE team prepared to serve the search warrant and they knew the suspect was inside the location. They provided their knock & notice announcement and what do you know, the suspect refused to open the door.
The CAPE team was forced to make entry to the location. They hit the door once, twice, three times and guess what? The door would not budge. Several hits later, the door was finally forced open and they were able to make entry and arrest the subject.
An examination of the door revealed that it was a metal door that was reinforced from the interior of the location to strengthen it. The door was fortified and that is why it took such an effort to make entry. Fortunately, as usual, the CAPE team was very prepared to deal with the situation and had the needed tools on hand to deal with the situation. Never under estimate what extremes counterfeiters will go to to protect themselves and their inventory.
The case ended with the recovery of over $ 400,000.00 worth of counterfeit goods and the arrest of the subject, who is now facing felony trademark counterfeiting charges and has an immigration hold. The subject also has a prior conviction for trademark counterfeiting. I guess she did not learn the first time.
The subject should have just opened the door. What did she really think that the CAPE Team and HSI would just “go away.” DUH!
By Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants