Counterfeit perfume seized in major New York raid; could contain urine, antifreeze
Five people were arrested and large shipments of fake perfume seized in a major raid in Lower Manhattan Wednesday.
Agents with the Department of Homeland Security say businesses were selling dangerous chemicals being passed off as designer products.
The perfume bottles were labeled to make them look like top-of-the-line, brand-name fragrances, but officials said the knock-off scents can contain urine, antifreeze and other unpleasant, flammable or dangerous chemicals that burn when applied to the skin.
The NYPD made the arrests, while federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations seized the merchandise. Shops and warehouses were targeted, with authorities executing nine search warrants across the city in what was described as a two-year joint undercover operation. More than 10,000 boxes were seized.
“What you’re getting is a substandard product,” Homeland Security investigator Angel Melendez said. “You’re getting a product that you don’t know what’s included in it. So these products have been smuggled into the United States utilizing various methodologies. And once they’re here, they’re repackaged and then just distributed. In this particular case, they were distributed to various businesses in the New York City area, and some of them actually made it to e-commerce sites as well.”
Containers packed with the fragrances reportedly came through Port Elizabeth to a temporary warehouse on Henry Street in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Authorities say they were repackaged on Grand Avenue and Broadway, both in Queens, and stored at a storage facility on the BQE. They were then shipped throughout the country, including to Florida, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and Washington D.C.
Authorities say trafficking counterfeit goods is the third most lucrative industry in the world.
The goods that were seized Wednesday will be sent to the lab to determine their exact makeup.
The five suspects who were arrested were identified as Patrick Badal, Kaium Shah, Kenny Ni, Abul Kashem and Parvez Shazzed.
Authorities say an undercover agent was taken by Shazzed to a second floor room in his store and was told it would cost $15 for any counterfeit perfume that lined the walls. Shazzed reportedly told the agent that “the products were not real but were of good quality.”
Fake Daisy by Marc Jacobs fragrance was first found on Patrick Badal at Kennedy Airport in May 2015, officials said, and seized perfumes in subsequent shipments claimed to be Chanel No. 5, Dolce and Gabanna Light Blue, Lacoste, Polo, Gucci Guilty, Christian Dior and Juicy Couture.