CHICAGO–U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers remain vigilant and are focused on the health and safety of consumers during the pandemic. Officers assigned to the International Mail Facility (IMF) at O’Hare International Airport recently seized 136 boxes containing suspicious 3M N95 type masks with a 3M trademark.
On March 1, CBP officers assigned to the Port of Chicago seized parcels that were arriving from Colombia. Officers inspected the shipment to determine the admissibility of the parcels and its contents. The officers noticed an unfamiliar chemical smell coming from the masks and grammatical errors on the 3M packaging. CBP Import Specialists determined the shipment of 3M masks infringes upon the 3M trademark and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH trademark. CBP seized 65,280 3M N95 masks. If the masks had been real, and because of supply and demand, the masks would have had a Domestic Value of over $401,000. All the masks were destined for a company in Virginia.
Legitimate surgical respirators are critical for the healthcare industry, and 3M publishes alerts to help educate the public about the potential for respirator fraud and inflated pricing. Throughout the past year, criminal enterprises exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to sell counterfeit, unapproved, unsafe PPE, and pharmaceuticals, but CBP has remained focused on its mission to protect consumers, reduce trading costs, and promote a level playing field for American businesses.
“These counterfeit masks are extremely dangerous and provide a false sense of security to American consumers,” said Hans Leiterman, Assistant Area Port Director-Chicago. “Unfortunately, there is no shortage of bad actors out there trying to take advantage of consumers during a global pandemic.”