NEW ORLEANS -- With the Super Bowl fans in New Orleans, also come the scammers.
Federal government officials are keeping an eye out for fake NFL gear and tickets.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have seized more than $13 million in fake jerseys, hats and other gear as part of what they are calling ‘Operation Red Zone.’
“You know the fake stuff is almost as much as the regular stuff,” said 49ers fan Linda Hamilton. “I’d rather get the real stuff than the fake stuff.”
ICE agents are targeting warehouses, street vendors and even websites. So far, two dozen people have been arrested and 300 websites have been shut down.
Agents have recovered a few odd items.
“My personal favorite is this counterfeit Super Bowl ring from Super Bowl 44 which was in Miami,” said John Morton, the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Federal investigators believe the Mexican drug cartels are getting in on the action by selling fake NFL gear on the black market to make quick cash.