U.S. Customs intercepts shipment of fake Mercedes parts

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US customs and border protection officials confiscated a large shipment of counterfeit Mercedes-Benz car parts in Philadelphia on 17 October, shipped from China via Newark's port, N.J., the agency said Thursday.

Authentic versions of the parts have a combined value on the retail market of $ 1.76 million.

CBP's automated guidance system, which looks at data from the freight manifest and other import documents, marked the shipment as deviating from normal supply chain patterns for motor vehicle parts from China with well-known shippers such as Mercedes, said spokesman Stephen Sapp. An unusual aspect was the delivery address outside of Philadelphia.

The consignment, which arrived by ship on 6 September, was transported by lorry under a special link allowing addressees to withhold customs clearance at the port of entry and instead be safely released in a warehouse or centralized examination station at the domestic destination.

CBP officers had to make an inventory of the contents before trade specialists contacted Mercedes for help in determining whether the products were fake. CBP sent the recipient, which was not mentioned, to documentation showing that the trademark holder had been allowed to import his product, but the agency did not respond, Sapp said.

Criminals will often leave the property in such cases, he noted. CBP sends the parts to be destroyed.