LUMBERTON — A partnership between the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina Secretary of State has netted more than $100,000 worth of counterfeit clothing, handbags, perfume, CDs and more.
The Office of Secretary of State Elaine Marshall is working with law enforcement agencies statewide to crack down on the sale of counterfeit merchandise.
“By working together, state, local and county law enforcement agencies are able to effectively combat the culture of counterfeiting everywhere we find it across North Carolina,” Marshall said in a statement. “That’s important for our economy because counterfeits harm legitimate manufacturers and merchants, and it’s important to consumers because many fakes pose a very real health and safety risk. We also know that the profits from counterfeiting help fund organized crime and even terrorist organizations, making a zero-tolerance policy even more vital.”
Months of planning between the Sheriff’s Office and the Secretary of State culminated this month with busts at 12 Lumberton, Pembroke, Maxton and Red Springs businesses.
The searches were a continuation of Operation Zero Hour, a three-day operation in which the U.S. marshals, Robeson County Sheriff’s Office and about 10 other law enforcement agencies served outstanding warrants to 123 people for crimes that included murder and kidnapping.
The Sheriff’s Office hopes the initiative will make a dent in the supply of counterfeit items in the area and encourage consumers to pay attention to whether the luxury brand names emblazoned on what they are buying add up with the price tag and where the items are being sold.
“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” said Randall Graham, with the Sheriff’s Office. Counterfeit brands seized in Robeson County included Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Versace, Ray Ban, Oakley and Timberland.
The following people were issued citations as a part of the initiative:
— Imran Albarati, of Nye Road, Lumberton, was cited May 10 for possessing $120 worth of pirated CDs that were being sold at Shop N Save on East Second Street in Lumberton.
— Nashat Abdelaziz of Kale Drive, Lumberton, was cited May 10 for possession with intent to sell $3,900 worth of pirated CDs at Swag City on West Third Street in Pembroke. Abdelaziz was also cited for dispensing prescription contact lenses without a license. Belly-button rings, boots and sunglasses totaling $1,650 were also seized.
— Adnan Rashad Alsaidi, of Edinburgh Road, Raeford, was cited May 10 for possessing counterfeit CDs and DVDs, posessing counterfeit NFL merchandise and dispensing prescription contact lenses without a license at Main Street Smoke Shop on West Third Street in Pembroke. DVDs, CDs, NFL and NBA merchandise, detox drinks and synthetic urine totaling $3,413.75 were seized.
— Abdel Hadi Sarama, of West Second Avenue in Red Springs, was cited May 10 with possessing $540 worth of counterfeit CDs and possession with intent to sell $7,350 worth of counterfeit cologne and $800 worth of Apple products at Kash N Karry on East Fourth Street in Red Springs.
— Manal Abdelaziz, of Covington Street, Laurinburg, was cited May 10 for possessing counterfeit herbal Viagra, worth $385 and pirated CDs worth $900 at Tobacco Brothers Minute Shop on Martin Luther King Drive in Lumberton.
— Mark Lee Williams, of Elizabethtown Road in Bladenboro, was cited May 5 for possessing $22,490.25 worth of counterfeit shoes, wallets, handbags, cell phone cases, watches, CDs, DVDs, cologne, belts and sunglasses at Lumberton Flea Market.
— Gregory Earl Johnson, of Hamer, S.C., was cited May 5 for possession with intent to sell $13,599.25 worth of counterfeit DVDs, CDs, handbags, hats and wallets at Lumberton Flea Market.
— James Earl Ferguson, of Dairy Road, Red Springs, was cited May 5 with possession with intent to sell $37,850 worth of counterfeit sunglasses, watches, cologne and shoes at Lumberton Flea Market.
Additionally, $770 worth of counterfeit items were seized at Jeco Kwik Stop on Union Chapel Road in Pembroke, including Harley Davidson dream catchers; $2,200 worth of counterfeit Carolina Panthers, Ta Heels and Harley Davidson dream catchers as well as Apple adapters were seized at Sun Do on Cabinet Shop Road in Maxton; $885 worth of counterfeit Apple adapters and NFL and NBA hats were seized at Eddie’s Food Mart on Chicken Road in Lumberton; $14,800 worth of prescription contact lenses, CDs, NFL and Clemson University hats and Apple adapters were seized from Puff N Stuff Tobacco on Elizabethtown Road in Lumberton; $180 worth of counterfeit CDs were seized from 41 Gas and Go on Martin Luther King Drive in Lumberton; and $1,290 worth of CDs and MLB, NBA, NFL and Clemson University hats were seized from Lumberton Quick Check on West Fifth Street.