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Counterfeit National Championship Gear Seized After 2020 College Football National Championship Game

Jan 26, 2020 02:49PM ● By News Desk
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized more than 700 counterfeit sports-related items worth an estimated $300,000 during a joint anti-counterfeiting operation in downtown New Orleans the day of the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

This HSI-led enforcement operation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Attorney General’s office, New Orleans Police Department, and Mercedes-Benz Superdome Public Safety was part of Operation College Football Gold 20, an effort to combat global Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) theft by enforcing trademark and copyright violations to deter the illegal importation and sale of counterfeit goods. 

“HSI is committed to targeting criminals attempting to disrupt major sporting events by engaging in counterfeiting and additional illicit activities,” said HSI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Jere T. Miles. “Intellectual property right infringement has severe consequences, including negatively impacting the U.S. economy; threatening the health and safety of American consumers, and funding criminal organizations involved in violent crimes.”

Investigators seized counterfeit items near the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and also around downtown New Orleans Monday. Seized items included counterfeit New Orleans Saints NFL championship rings and necklaces, NCAA gear and accessories for LSU and Clemson, including championship rings and necklaces, shirts, bracelets, patches and scarves, some still warm from the printing press.

In fiscal year 2019, HSI as a whole seized more than $800 million in counterfeit goods and made more than 350 criminal arrests related to support of IPR enforcement operations.