KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Federal agents and other law enforcement groups seized more than $540,000 in counterfeit Major League Baseball merchandise over two weeks leading up to this year's All-Star Game in Kansas City.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Thursday that the joint operation, led by its Homeland Security Investigations unit, targeted Internet sellers, street vendors and stores offering fake, game-related sportswear.
ICE said the 14-day effort in the Kansas City metropolitan area resulted in the seizure of 13,023 phony items, including apparel, fake tickets and memorabilia. Nearly 20 percent were from other sports leagues, such as the National Football League, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League.
Authorities said they closed a Lenexa, Kan., warehouse believed to be responsible for distributing the majority of all counterfeit hats sold in the Kansas City area.
"Selling counterfeit goods is stealing," said Gilbert Trill, assistant special agent in charge of HSI Kansas City. "Counterfeit goods steal U.S. jobs, create inferior and sometimes dangerous products, and support criminal organizations."