NEW ORLEANS (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – An initiative targeting shipments of counterfeit merchandise, including fake Super Bowl jerseys, ball caps, t-shirts, jackets, and other souvenirs, achieved record-breaking results as a result of a nationwide enforcement operation dubbed "Operation Red Zone."
With three days left before Super Bowl XLVII, special agents from ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operating in conjunction with the NFL and various law enforcement agencies, have already seized more than 160,000 counterfeit Super Bowl-related memorabilia.
In total, the agents seized more than $13.6 million of counterfeit Super Bowl memorabilia and other NFL items.
"The sale of counterfeit jerseys and other sports items undermines the legitimate economy, takes jobs away from Americans and fuels crime overseas. No good comes of counterfeiting American products - whether NFL jerseys, airbags, or pharmaceuticals - and we must go after the criminals behind it," said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton.
Authorities targeted warehouses, stores, flea markets, online vendors, and street vendors selling game-related sportswear and tickets.
The operation began on Sept. 1, 2012 and will continue through Feb. 6, 2013.