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Last week, federal officials busted two connected smuggling rings responsible for flooding New York (and the rest of the country) with fake Uggs and Nikes, as well as counterfeit bags from Coach, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Burberry. Twenty-nine smugglers were charged with trying to unload $325 million worth of false goods in what Paul J. Fishman, the United States attorney for New Jersey, called "one of the largest counterfeit-goods cases ever prosecuted in this country.”
The faux Uggs (Fuggs?) came into New Jersey ports disguised as another brand called "XMX." Smugglers affixed the boots with XMX tags and generic treads, then peeled them off once the merchandise had gotten through customs. (Gothamist has some great photos of the goods courtesy the US Department of Justice.)
Fashion wasn't the crime ring's only interest: They were also trying to sell crystal meth in Japan, hidden alongside items meant for tsunami relief. In case that doesn't sound quite diabolical enough, the Times also quotes one defendant telling a colleague who had qualms about selling fake cosmetics to "go be a monk," and saying "All I care about is to make money." Let's just assume he was twirling his mustache while he was at it.
· Officials Tell of Fake Labels Hidden Beneath Fake Labels [NYT]
· Massive Fake Uggs (And Real Crystal Meth) Smuggling Stopped By Feds [Gothamist]