$1 million in counterfeit items seized from Baton Rouge store

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Box after box was carried out of Fashion Express on Airline Highway as investigators took evidence they say was counterfeit merchandise worth more than $1 million.

Agents made one arrest during the raid and seized 3,082 pieces of fake designer shoes and purses.

Fashion Express is located at 5956 Airline Hwy.

Bocar Ba, 43, was arrested and charged with illegal use of counterfeit trademark in connection with the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods.

"It runs the spectrum from counterfeit Nike shoes, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Coach merchandise, clothing, pursues, shoes," said Bryan Cox Public Affairs Officer with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The bust is a result of an ongoing joint investigation between US Immigration Customs Enforcement and the state's Attorney General's Office.

Bryan Cox said nationwide, businesses lose up to $2 billion each year to counterfeit vendors. He says every dollar made by a counterfeiter, is a dollar taken from businesses playing by the rules.

"Those are businesses that pay taxes, employ workers, contribute to the economy," said Cox

Cox says counterfeit items are usually brought in from overseas.

"If you know what a legitimate Michael Kors bag is, you can feel the material and see the quality of construction; just is not what a legitimate item would be. Not the same material, not the same weight the leather is of lower quality," he said

There are trained investigators who know the difference between illegal and real merchandise. He says those who counterfeit and are caught can face criminal and civil charges.

"It's illegal, it's a problem and it's something that we're looking for and we are going to find you."

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