Monday, April 19, 2010

Feds Raided 7 Mile Fair In Racine And Confiscated Thousands Of Dollars Of Pirated Merchandise

FBI, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Customs and Border Protection took thousands of counterfeit sport items, totaling more than $350,000 dollars of pirated merchandise from five booths inside the 7 Mile Fair

By H. Nelson Goodson
April 19, 2010
Updated April 20, 2010

Racine, Wisconsin -On Saturday, April 17, federal agents raided the 7 Mile Fair and confiscated pirated merchandise from five booths inside the facility. Multiple federal agencies involved in the unexpected raid, were the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP specializes in piracy seizures and is a separate branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
On Tuesday, WISN 12 TV News reporter Shelby Croft confirmed that CBP were also involved in Saturday's raid to confiscate pirated merchandise at the 7 Mile Fair. ICE was not involved in the piracy raid, according to Croft.
About 20 federal agents walked into the 7 Mile Fair in Caledonia, located on the 7 Mile Road exit and I-94 at about 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and executed search warrants for the suspected pirated merchandise. Five agents in each booth counted and took the merchandise that included thousands of items such as counterfeit sports wear, sports named Nike tennis shoes, t-shirts, sport jackets with fake brand names and other items, according to a man who also rents a spot at the 7 Mile Fair. He was not affected, but did not want to be identified.
CBP estimated the seizure totaled more than $350,000 and the investigation is ongoing, according to ICE in Chicago, Illinois.
The owners or sellers of the suspected pirated merchandise were cited and their merchandise was confiscated.
The 7 Mile Fair opened its door at 9:00 a.m. and it took two hours for the federal agents to complete their operation.
During the weekend, word had spread among the bargain shoppers that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has raided 7 Mile Fair and that 70 people were taken into custody for being undocumented. Which later, the rumor turned out not to be accurate, but that CBP, FBI and U.S. Marshals were only interested in pirated merchandise.
7 Mile Fair attracts thousands of bargain seekers, and most are Latino shoppers from Milwaukee, surrounding counties and Illinois looking for bizarre bargains during the economic recession. 
On March 18, 2010, U.S. ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton testified before the U.S. House of Representaives on the Committee on Appropriations, and Subcommittee on Homeland Security regarding seizures of pirated merchandise. Morton stated that ICE and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been able to intercept more than 14,841 smuggled shipments of pirated merchandise in 2009. The CBP seizures were worth more than $260.7 million.
Other data indicates, U.S. businesses are losing about $200 billion a year due to piracy and counterfeit merchandise, and an estimated 750,000 jobs are being lost per year due to piracy.

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