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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Almost 700 counterfeit watches bound for the Philadelphia region from Hong Kong have now fallen into the hands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“It really is to protect the American economy but it is also to protect American consumers from health and safety concerns,” said Assistant Port Director Edward Moriarty.
On June 11, agents made one of their largest seizures in recent history flagging this shipment of watches that, if real, would be worth an estimated 10 million dollars.
“Our seizures are generally quadrupling here in the Philadelphia area,” Moriarty said.
Moriarty says there’s also a rise in the quality of fake products.
“Ten years ago, these watches would have been very light and fluffy and tin and now they’re getting a little bit more heavy and substantial so they are getting better at what they do,” he said.
Those responsible also try to cash in on current events, such as the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory.
In April, agents seized a fake Lombardi trophy and Super Bowl rings.
“We have a lot of Eagles’ jerseys and everything else,” he said.
But, Moriarty warns, these items may be cheap but they can be costly hazards.
“These watches you put on your wrist have lead in it and you’re wearing it. Knockoff jerseys are very flammable. They’re not made to U.S. standards,” he said.
All of those watches will eventually be destroyed.