The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-led nationwide enforcement operation dubbed ‘Operation Red Zone’ came to an end Feb. 6 and the results were record-breaking. The operation, which began Sept. 1, 2012, netted 196,333 items including fake jerseys, ball caps, t-shirts, jackets and other souvenirs. The items had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of more than $17.3 million. Special agents from ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and state and local police departments around the country worked in partnership with the NFL and other major sports leagues during the operation.
Operation Red Zone not only targeted international shipments of counterfeit merchandise as it entered the United States, but also focused on warehouses, stores, flea markets, online vendors and street vendors. This year, additional focus was placed on identifying and seizing counterfeit tickets to the Super Bowl. In all, 168 tickets were seized with an MSRP of more than $154,000. Forty-one individuals were arrested nationwide during the operation including six federal and 35 state and local arrests.