A traffic stop in Baldwin County led to the discovery or nearly $200,000 worth of fake designer purses, shoes and other items.
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office stopped a 2012 Dodge Ram with Texas license plates on Monday, January 22, on Interstate 10 near mile marker 54.
Deputies searched the truck and found about 200 counterfeit items that included purses, wallets, sunglasses, shoes and belts. The items were meant to look like Gucci, Versace, Louis Vuitton and other designer brands. Deputies said they also seized two boxes of what appeared to be knock-off perfumes and colognes.
If all of the items were the real thing, they would be worth $185,000, the sheriff’s office said.
The people inside the truck told deputies they were headed from Miami to Houston. They said they had gone to Florida to ship perfume and furniture to a store in Honduras.
The driver, identified as Jimy Alexander Torres-Mejia, was a fugitive wanted for deportation, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.
Deputies said Torres-Mejia and a passenger, identified as Jessy Salazar, told them they planned to sell the items in Texas on the open market.
“I would say probably once or twice a year we’ll end up getting a large seizure like this, but you know, almost every day we stop and get our small seizures where we find a purse or something along those lines,” says Captain Steve Arthur with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.
Counterfeit bags are becoming big headaches for small consignment shops. Robin Fennig is the owner of New Creation Consign.
“Knockoffs are all over the place. It used to just be when you went to New York, you could buy them on the street, but they’re all over now,” says Fennig.
And she sometimes has to tell people the bag they’re bringing in is fake.
“And they’ve usually spent more money than they wanted to on something that they thought was a real designer purse.”
Torres-Mejia and Salazar were booked into the Baldwin County Corrections Center and charged with theft of trademark/trade secret.
Authorities with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) put a detainer on Torres-Mejia, which means they plan to put him in their custody.
After this counterfeit case goes to trial and any appeals run out, those fake goods will be destroyed.