U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized a large shipment of counterfeit Mercedes-Benz auto parts Oct. 17 in Philadelphia that were shipped from China through the port of Newark, N.J., the agency said Thursday.
Authentic versions of the parts have a combined retail market value of $1.76 million.
CBP's automated targeting system, which looks at data from the cargo manifest and other import documents, flagged the shipment as deviating from normal supply chain patterns for motor vehicle parts from China with known shippers such as Mercedes, spokesman Stephen Sapp said. One unusual aspect was the delivery address outside Philadelphia.
The shipment, which arrived by vessel Sept. 6, was transported by truck under a special bond that enables consignees to forgo Customs clearance at the port of entry and instead secure release at a bonded warehouse or centralized exam station at the inland destination.
CBP officers had to inventory the contents before trade specialists contacted Mercedes for assistance in determining whether the products were fake. CBP sent the receiver, who was not named, a request for documentation showing it was authorized by the trademark holder to import its commodity, but the agency did not hear back, Sapp said.
Criminals often will abandon the property in such cases, he noted. CBP will send the parts to be destroyed.