100K counterfeit N95 masks seized in Texas

Federal authorities seized more than 100,000 fake N95 masks worth more than $600,000 from a warehouse in Texas, according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The masks were on their way to a hospital on the East Coast when U.S.Customs and Border Protection intercepted the shipment at Ysleta Cargo Facility in El Paso Dec. 7. 

"The seizure of these counterfeit surgical masks not only ensures the health and safety of our front-line healthcare workers by preventing them from receiving inferior personal protective equipment, it also protects the integrity of the American economy," said Erik Breitzke, acting special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in El Paso. "We will continue to aggressively investigate, arrest and prosecute criminal counterfeiters who show a total disregard for human life and take advantage of a relentless world pandemic for economic gain."

U.S. Customs officials have been investigating similar schemes since April, prompting the launch of Operation Stolen Promise to protect consumers from threats posed by the pandemic. 

In September, they intercepted more than 20,000 counterfeit N95 masks in Boston after discovering a suspicious shipment from Hong Kong, The Hill reported. 

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