Federal task force seizes $1M in counterfeit goods, prescription drugs in Mich.

The Detroit News
Homeland Security officials recently launched its Global Trade Task Force to combat illicit commercial activities.

A new federal task recently seized an estimated $1 million in counterfeit goods and prescription drugs at the Detroit Metro Airport and Port Huron Blue Water Bridge ports of entry, officials announced Monday.

The seizure was part of Global Trade Task Force, a recently launched U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations-led, multi-agency effort that works to curb illegal commercial activities.

During a week-long surge targeting merchandise and shipments entering and exiting the country from foreign countries, investigators recovered items including counterfeit Xanax pills and Botox, e-cigarettes, Rolex watches and iPhones.

“With the launch of the GTTF, we are combining a wide array of capabilities that enable us to combat this global problem in a more streamlined manner,” said Steve Francis,  Homeland Security Investigations' Detroit Special Agent in Charge, in a statement. “I look forward to seeing the significant results the task force will no doubt achieve, and hope it will serve as a model for how the agency approaches counterfeit and counterproliferation investigations going forward.”

The task force includes Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security, and the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

Its mission is to counter efforts such as the trafficking of counterfeit, substandard, or tainted merchandise; fraud schemes; and the illegal export of U.S. military products, sensitive dual-use technology, weapons of mass destruction, or chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials, authorities said Monday.

“This joint collaborative task force is a force multiplier for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to mitigate illicit attempts by smugglers to use inbound and outbound commercial shipments for their nefarious operations,” said Christopher Perry, director of field operations.

“Exploiting the commercial cargo environment will not be tolerated and this task force will no doubt aide our border security mission.”