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January 23, 2015 at 2:29 PM

Counterfeit Seahawks jerseys seized from Washington man in Arizona

UPDATE at 2:58 p.m.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security in Arizona said that a man who had about 100 counterfeit Seahawks jerseys on him when he was pulled over during a traffic stop Thursday was from East Wenatchee, Douglas County — not exactly the Seattle area.

The Seattle Times is not naming the 36-year-old man because he was only cited, not arrested, by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

ORIGINAL POST: Department of Homeland Security agents in Arizona have seized about 100 counterfeit Seahawks jerseys from a Seattle-area man who had traveled to Phoenix.

Bryan D. Cox, spokesman for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s Super Bowl office in Phoenix, said agents learned about the man after  he was pulled over on an unrelated driving violation by Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The Seahawks will play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.

“This guy is the first of many, many people we’re likely to see this week,” Cox said. “For this particular individual, he could face criminal prosecution in the state of Arizona.”

Cox wasn’t sure whether the man had been arrested.

The man, whose name has not yet been released, also had authentic, licensed Seahawks merchandise that was not seized, he said.

“The key message is every dollar that goes to a counterfeit vendor takes away a dollar from a legitimate vendor,” Cox said.

Team names and logos are trademarked by the NFL and individual teams, and fakes are monitored by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm, but the counterfeit industry is nonetheless thriving.

Last year, ICE seized $37.8 million worth of fake Super Bowl 2014 merchandise and tickets — more than the previous six Super Bowl enforcement efforts combined.

A spokesman for ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations said the sharp increase was due to the Super Bowl’s being in New Jersey, with New York City just across the river — offering a large customer base and a higher likelihood of criminals attempting to cash in.

The tally included $200,000 worth of merchandise seized in the Seattle area between Jan. 20, 2014, after the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers the day before to land a place in the Super Bowl, and the downtown Seattle victory parade on Feb. 5, the spokesman said.

 

Comments | More in Sports, The Blotter | Topics: counterfeit Seahawks jerseys, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Seahawks

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