Local stores raided for counterfeits - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Local stores raided for counterfeits

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October 23, 2003

Albany -- Counterfeit clothes with possible terrorist links are seized during simultaneous raids at more than a dozen stores.

U.S. Customs agents raided 14 stores in Albany Thursday morning. With help from the Dougherty County Sheriff's Department, they seized tens of thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit clothes and other goods. Now their investigation focuses on whether money from the sale of these goods can be traced to the Al Queda terrorist network.

The largest target in the sweep, the Millennium Mall on Radium Springs Road. Investigators serve a search warrant on BBB Fashion Mart's owners. They lock the doors, and start looking for counterfeit clothes. It doesn't take long to start collecting items they suspect have phony manufacturing labels, fooling consumers into buying substandard products.

Undercover agents found the goods earlier.

One thousand, 864 suspected counterfeit CD's are seized at Odyssey Records. At ten dollars each, 18 thousand dollars worth of counterfeit's in one store.

At the Shoe Depot on South Slappey Boulevard, hats and shoes are confiscated. The store owner says even if the goods are counterfeit, he is not at fault.

It's estimated that nine percent of the world's trade involves counterfeit goods. The profits from the sale of phony items have been linked to Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Drug Cartels, and the Mafia across the globe. Mohammed Okashah says he will fight to prove he is a legitimate businessman.

No one was arrested, and we want to point out that some stores did not have any of their merchandise confiscated.

In 2000 U.S. Customs seized 45 million dollars of counterfeit products.

posted at 4:29 PM by jimw@walb.com