HOUSTON-- Thousands of fake Louis Vuitton, Coach and Jimmy Choo purses were boxed up and confiscated in one of the largest counterfeit goods raids in recent history, the Houston Police Department said.
The HPD Major Offenders Division said it also took in hundreds of fake name-brand shoes.
They were all allegedly sold by small businesses located inside the Armadillo Flea Market on Airtex near Interstate 45 North.
We had support from ICE and also the Harris County District Attorney s office. We are such a small squad that, to do something of this magnitude, we do turn to other agencies that enforce it also and they help us. Without them we obviously couldn't do it, said Sgt. Frank Quinn.
For more than a month, HPD said it sent undercover officers into the stores with cash.
Yes, we send people in just like shoppers and they'll go in and make the purchase and they will come back and will get in contact with the companies and they provide experts who can testify that it is counterfeit. There are certain things they look for to determine if it is a counterfeit product, Quinn said.
Eight people were arrested and charged with trademark counterfeiting -- a state jail felony.
Others who weren't targeted by police sure didn't want to hang around. As soon as investigators moved in Sunday afternoon, they quickly locked up their stores and took off running.
I did notice it, and really you have to select a target that you can live with at the time, Quinn said.
He said they just had too many other suspects to deal with during the raid.
ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection carried out nearly 15,000 investigations like this last year --raids that took more than a quarter-billion dollars worth of fake goods off the shelves.
Approximately 281 boxes of counterfeit goods containing 11,000 pieces were taken to HPD s property room Sunday afternoon.
Police saidthe manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP)of the goodswas approximately $5 million.