Largest counterfeit bags bust ever, more than $1 billion seized

MANHATTAN, NY – A record-breaking operation led by federal authorities and the New York Police Department (NYPD) has resulted in the seizure of over $1 billion worth of counterfeit designer goods. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York confirmed the news on Wednesday.

The operation unfolded within a Manhattan storage facility, where law enforcement confiscated an estimated 219,000 counterfeit items, ranging from bags and clothes to shoes and other luxury products. While the suggested retail price of the seized goods exceeds $1.03 billion, the actual street value is usually markedly less.

Photographs released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office paint a picture of a warehouse teeming with imitation designer bags from various brands. Other areas of the facility are similarly packed with counterfeit goods, with clothes hanging from pipes and dozens of unopened boxes stacked on pallets.

“This is the largest-ever seizure of counterfeit goods in U.S. history,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, referring to the operation led by Homeland Security Investigations.

Adama Sow, 38, of Queens, and Abdulai Jalloh, 48, of Manhattan, were arrested in connection with the operation. Both men face charges of trafficking in counterfeit goods and could serve up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. According to authorities, the duo utilized the storage facility as a distribution hub for the counterfeit merchandise.

The indictment alleges that from January 2023 through October 20, Sow and Jalloh ran a large-scale counterfeit goods trafficking operation out of the storage facility. They are also accused of operating a similar operation from another Manhattan location.

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban underscored the detrimental impact of counterfeit goods trafficking, stating that it harms legitimate businesses, governments, and consumers. He vowed to continue efforts to bring to justice those who profit from the black market sale of counterfeit items.