Global Trade Task Force seizes more than $1 million in counterfeit items on way into Michigan

Biggest challenge is volume of items coming into U.S.

DETROIT – Multiple agencies teamed together as part of the Global Trade Task Force to prevent counterfeit drugs or goods from being smuggled into the country.

In just one week a small group of Homeland Security and Border Patrol agents made a big dent in criminal profits by seizing $1.1 million in counterfeit goods and drugs.

That includes $540,000 worth of Rolex watches and 25 pounds of Xanax, according to Christopher Perry, with Customs and Border Protection.

The items come into the U.S. from foreign countries through commercial carriers or the mail.

"The amount of suspected fentanyl could have killed 85,000 people," Perry said.

Twenty agents from the federal, state and local level were part of Operation Alliance, targeting border crossings in Detroit and Port Huron, as well as Metro Airport. The biggest challenge is the sheer volume of goods entering the country.

"You’re at the busiest commercial border crossing on the Northern Border, thousands of pieces of cargo, thousands of pieces of mail, so the challenge we face is the volume," Perry said.

It was the first joint operation of the Global Trade Task Force.

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.