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The NYPD executed a raid on a Queens storage facility where knockoff Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and more was housed and sold, picking up $2.2 million worth of counterfeit goods and arresting seven people, WWD reports. The raid was a culmination of a seven-month investigation on the Treasure Island Storage facility in Jamaica, the name of which inspired its internal reference name: Operation Treasure Hunt.
Those arrested could face more than a year of jail time stemming from felony charges. The Organized Crime Investigation division, which supervised the project, do not believe that their counterfeit business is fronting drug deals or any other illegal activity.
In the several units the police searched around 1pm yesterday—as unmarked cars surrounded the facility amid torrential rain—scores of merchandise was found, including Michael Kors bags and flip-flops, North Face jackets, Ugg boots, Gucci and MCM wallets, Beats by Dre headphones, Hermès belts, and Nike sneakers. In some cases, the knockoffs were surprising realistic, right down to the packaging.
In some cases, the storage units were secured with locks so strong—"the Louis Vuitton of locks," one investigator told the paper—that it took several minutes for officers working with rotating saws to open them. Meanwhile, suspects who were caught off-guard (some were even working with customers) attempted to thwart officials by shutting their gates or pretending not to know English.
"It's almost as though they think they're not committing a crime because no one is getting hurt," the same unnamed investigator said. "If they get arrested once or twice, it's part of doing business."
Police believe that Treasure Island Storage was unaware of the activities taking place during this period, despite visitors checking in at a reception desk and recording video footage of several spots within the facility.
· NYPD Nabs $2.2 Million in Counterfeit Goods [WWD]
· Why the $600 Bil Counterfeit Industry Is Still Horrible for Fashion [Racked]
· Crimes of Fashion [Racked NY]