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Border patrol seizes more than $260K in fake heaters in International Falls

The 780 infrared zone heaters were found in a rail car bound for Ranier, Minnesota.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in International Falls on Friday seized more than 700 counterfeit heaters from a rail container bound for Ranier.

According to the CBP, officers at the International Falls Port of Entry targeted the rail container and discovered infrared zone heaters that were in violation of intellectual property rights regulations. 

The 780 heaters had an estimated retail price of $261,060 if they had been real. 

“CBP is focused on identifying and intercepting counterfeit merchandise and products. The enforcement of trade laws at U.S. ports of entry remains a high priority for us,” International Falls Port Director Anthony Jackson said in a statement. “Counterfeiting adversely affects the ability of lawful copyright holders to profit from their original ideas. Counterfeiting also harms consumers because manufacturers of forged products have little motivation to use safe, high-quality materials in their products.”

Stopping illicit goods from reaching the U.S. is a top priority for CBD, and enforcing intellectual property rights takes a multi-layered approach, CBP says. It includes seizing illegal merchandise at the border, pushing the border "outward" through audits of suspect importers, cooperating with international trading partners and collaborating with industry and government agencies to enhance their efforts.

In 2019, CBP and its partner agencies seized 27,559 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights, totaling $1.5 billion if the goods had been legitimate, CBP's website says. Watches and jewelry were the most common items seized last year. 

Details on the items seized in 2020 are not publicly available yet. 

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