A crackdown on suspected counterfeiters selling knockoff products at a Winchester swap meet led to seven arrests and the seizure of more than $150,000 in illicit goods, authorities have announced.
The Intellectual Property Rights enforcement action precipitated an unplanned sweep by the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health, which seized -- and later disposed of -- around 2,500 pounds of food prepared in unhealthful conditions, according to the District Attorney's Office.
All the activity occurred Sunday at an outdoor market held near the intersection of Newport and Winchester roads, the District Attorney's Office said.
District Attorney's Office investigators, sheriff's deputies, code enforcement officers, environmental health officials and representatives from the Recording Industry Association of America took part in the crackdown.
According to the District Attorney's Office, the alleged illicit counterfeit products seized included 30 handbags, including fakes purporting to be Chanel and Michael Kors brands, 20 sports jerseys, several hundred mobile phone and tablet cases, as well as more than 4,000 CDs and DVDs.
How the counterfeiting operation was uncovered was not disclosed.
The alleged conspirators were identified as:
- Uriel Cortes, 30
- Elmira Erendra Garcia, 37
- Gilbert Morales, 34
- Patricia Tapia-Ocampo, 43
- Blanca Estella Paredes, 45
- Chester Darron Staley, 54
- Abel Veliz, 44
The suspects were arrested on suspicion of felony counterfeiting or being in possession of illegally manufactured DVDs. Each suspect was free today on bail amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to $30,000, according to jail records.
Fourteen people were cited for alleged misdemeanor health code violations in connection with the non-permitted food service activity.
According to the District Attorney's Office, additional enforcement actions are planned at the swap meet and other locations within the county to root out suspected illegal activity.
– City News Service.