By Steve Neavling
At first sight, it was an impressive collection of guitars.
But a closer look revealed that the 85 guitars, including a Les Paul purportedly autographed by Slash from Guns N’ Roses, were clever counterfeits.
The shipment from China was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Washington Dulles International Airport earlier this month, the agency announced Monday.
Experts at CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise worked with trademark holders to confirm the guitars were fakes.
The collection included 72 Gibsons, along with models from CF Martin, Fender, Kramer and Taylor. Some bore counterfeited autographs from other renowned guitars such as Les Paul and AC/DC’s Angus Young.
If the guitars were authentic, they would have had a manufacturer’s retail price of more than $250,000.
It was the second significant seizure of counterfeit guitars at Dulles Airport this year.
If not detected, the guitars would have gone to 31 states.
“The international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens the competitiveness of American businesses and the livelihoods of U.S. workers while funding criminal activity,” Keith Fleming, CBP’s acting director of field operations in Baltimore, said in a news release. “More importantly, counterfeit goods pose a serious health and safety risk to American consumers. Customs and Border Protection, along with our law enforcement and consumer safety partners, remain committed to making it difficult and costly for unscrupulous vendors to take advantage of unsuspecting American consumers.”
CBP seized an average of $3.6 million worth of counterfeit products per day last year.