“The seizure of these counterfeit surgical masks not only ensures the health and safety of our frontline healthcare workers by preventing them from receiving inferior personal protective equipment, it also protects the integrity of the American economy,” said Erik P. Breitzke, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI El Paso. “We will continue to aggressively investigate, arrest and prosecute criminal counterfeiters who show a total disregard for human life and take advantage of a relentless world pandemic for economic gain.”
No arrests have been made at this time in connection to the confiscation.
Operation Stolen Promise, an initiative launched in April of 2020 by several federal agencies and some private sector companies, played a part in the investigation. They work specifically to investigate and stop fraudulent transactions in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. So far, nearly 200 arrests have been made and $28 million in recovered assets found. According to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, most of these counterfeit goods originate from China.