LAREDO, Texas-- Along with drugs and illegal weapons federal border agents say, especially in the months leading up to Christmas, they re on the look-out for counterfeit toys.
There is a lot of money involved in this, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chief Santiago Alvarez. People don't realize it.
In fiscal year 2010, federal border agents seized more than $188-million worth of fake goods.
With more than 6,000 trucks crossing the border into Laredo every day, Alvarez said his agents have to have a wide variety of product knowledge in order to identify frauds.
Import specialist Juan Porras said one of the more obvious clues that it s a fake can be found in the product s name.
For example at the Laredo Port of Entry, agents seized video game systems labeled as Vii (infringing on the Wii trademark) and games with the label XBoss (infringing on the Xbox trademark).
A left-handed Nike Air Jordan logo tipped agents off that a shipment of shoes were counterfeit.
Misspellings on packaging are also strong clues the items in question are fake.
Porras said theft of intellectual property in fake goods not only threatens the American economy but national security as well.
He said some of the fake goods seized pose health and safety risks for consumers.
Wednesday a shipment of televisions from China caught the eyes of federal agents at the Laredo port.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, items from China account for nearly 70 percentof all intellectual property rights seizures.
It could take days for agents to verify if the trademarks logos on televisions are licensed.
Alvarez said the work can be tedious and time consuming but added with what s at stake it s always worth a second look.