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$10 million in counterfeit iPods, iPhones seized

The 200-member L.A. Port Police force’s most recent investigation led to the seizure of more than $10 million of counterfeit Apple products and other electronics in a warehousing operation in downtown Los Angeles over the weekend.

The goods were shipped over as parts from Asia to be reassembled and labelled in L.A. before being sold in order to obscure the operation. Laid out on a table in typical drug-bust style, a Los Angeles Times photo shows piles upon piles of the PSPs, third- and fourth-gen Nanos and other goods set to be displayed in a press conference Monday.

“This was a well-funded operation,” said Ron Boyd, chief of the L.A. Port Police force. “The counterfeits looked very authentic.”

Though they were deceiving to the eye, the iPods and iPhones, many of older generations, don’t work when hooked up to iTunes, he said. Investigators assume the recent shipment was timed to coincide with lingering electronics hype brought on by the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

The investigation also involved the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, the Border Enforcement Security Task Force, the California Highway Patrol’s Cargo Theft Interdiction Program and the Vernon Police Department.

This sort of thing is pretty commonplace in other countries — the word “Molino” comes to mind — so it’s good to see the integrity of the world’s most trusted industry defended in the U.S.A.

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