More than 622,000 counterfeit N-95 masks seized before reaching Metro Detroit hospital system

Masks were shipped in from China

Homeland Security investigators seized 622,000 fake N-95 face masks from inside a warehouse on the west side of Detroit.

DETROITHomeland Security investigators seized 622,000 fake N-95 face masks from inside a warehouse on the west side of Detroit.

A hospital system in Michigan had purchased the masks under the impression that they were real. That hospital system is now out $3.5 million.

“These are all counterfeit masks, illegally imported to the United States and substandard -- and they can put hospital staff patients of course at risk if they happen to be used,” Special Agent in Charge with the Homeland Security, Vance Callender, said.

The defenders learned a company from China sold the masks all over the United States including New York, Seattle, and Phoenix. The medical facility is working with investigators to provide evidence.

“We don’t have an extradition treaty with China. We can’t extract provides opportunities to potentially make arrests of individuals and travel outside of China or to the United States,” Callender said.

Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge shared just how dangerous it could be if those masks had been put to use. Homeland Security investigations said while seizures were made around the country, the more than 600,000 face masks in Detroit was the largest bust they made.

The hospital involved did not want to be identified but it is cooperating with the investigation.

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About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

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