Nearly 59,000 counterfeit or unapproved face masks and hundreds of COVID-19 medications and test kits were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection over the past six weeks throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including Baltimore.
The face masks violated trademark protections of numerous brands, including designer consumer brands, sports teams, vehicle manufacturers, cartoon characters and others, according to a Wednesday news release from the Customs and Border Protection. If the face masks were authentic, the masks would’ve retailed for $2,553,000.
“The volume of counterfeit COVID-19 facemasks is astonishing and further evidence that predatory scammers will take advantage of an international pandemic to line their greedy pockets by peddling illicit and potentially dangerous products as legitimate COVID-19 personal protective equipment,” said Casey Durst, director of field operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office, in a news release.
Ports along the East Coast, including Baltimore, seized 916 tablets of COVID-related medications during two seizures and 134 COVID-19 test kits and antibody tests during six seizures, the agency said.
The test kits and medications are not on the Emergency Use Authorization List, nor the manufacturers. By not being on the list, the products are considered inadmissible to the United States as they violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the agency said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that the parcels were supposed to end up in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The fake products were sent from Finland, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Vietnam.