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Authorities seize more than $26 million worth of 'knockoffs'

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Federal authorities led a nationwide crackdown of counterfeit goods
  • More than 700,000 "knockoff" goods were confiscated in 41 cities
  • The Mexican government held similar raids south of the border
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Washington (CNN) -- More than $26 million worth of counterfeit clothing, electronics, DVDs, holiday ornaments and other consumer goods are now in the hands of authorities after a nationwide series of raids.

The coordinated raids were aimed at cracking down on major rings selling "knockoff" products, federal authorities announced Monday. They recovered more than 700,000 counterfeited products in 41 cities and 26 states.

The Mexican government carried out a parallel operation south of the border in what officials dubbed "Operation Holiday Hoax."

"Operation Holiday Hoax struck the counterfeiters and counterfeit vendors just when their inventories were at their peak," said John Morton, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE led a multiagency operation involving federal, state and local police agencies. Five people were arrested and charged in New York and Texas, Morton said.

Authorities were joined at Monday's news conference in Arlington, Virginia, by representatives of the movie and recording industries. Those industries lose millions of dollars to counterfeiters who sell cheap copies of copyrighted intellectual property.