A federal court in New York has charged 22 Chinese importers with smuggling nearly half-a-billion dollars in counterfeit goods into the United States from China.
The fake products include such popular luxury items as Louis Vuitton bags, Michael Kors wallets, and Chanel perfume.
Twenty-one of the defendants were arrested Thursday.
U.S. attorneys say the suspects allegedly smuggled the China-made counterfeit goods in large shipping containers disguised as legitimate products and brought them into ports in New York and New Jersey.
The defendants apparently intended to sell the fake products across the United States with a street value of nearly $500 million.
Along with smuggling and trafficking in counterfeit goods, the suspects are also charged with money laundering and immigration fraud.
“The illegal smuggling of counterfeit goods poses a real threat to honest business,” assistant attorney general Brian Benczkowski said. “The Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable those who seek to exploit our borders by smuggling counterfeit goods for sale on the black market.”