Tuesday, August 3, 2010

ICE Congratulates Itself For Failure

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a massive operation in San Francisco directed against Chinese luxury goods counterfeiters and their outlets in the Sanctuary City San Francisco. There are two interesting aspects of this case: what was reported and what was not in the MSM; and ICE's complicity with the ongoing criminal activity by Chinese and other immigrants in the Sanctuary City.

First, the back story:

Federal authorities said Tuesday they seized $100 million worth of counterfeit merchandise in a crackdown on shops at Fisherman's Wharf that cater to a steady stream of international tourists.

Eleven people were indicted in the months-long sting that U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello called the largest federal enforcement action targeting the trafficking of counterfeit goods along the West Coast.

Russoniello appeared at a news conference where samples of items illegally imported from China were piled on tables. The knockoff handbags, sunglasses and other products were labeled with more than 70 brand names, including Gucci, Prada and Nike.

"Counterfeiting badly undermines the U.S. economy," Russoniello said. "It robs Americans of jobs, it stifles innovation, and promotes crime."

The San Francisco Bay area, with its large ports and airports, is a hot spot for smugglers of fake goods.

First, lets deal with the Reds in the MSM. Let's look at two stories, one by the SF Chronicle and another by the PhillyBurbs.com. Typically, the Chron barely mentions China, the origin of the counterfeit goods, and that the criminals were Chinese and only implies that some were immigrants and hence deportable:

If convicted, they could face up to 35 years in prison. Some could also face deportation to China depending on their immigration status, he said.

"The significant impact of trafficking in such merchandise on the American economy should be obvious," Russoniello said at a San Francisco press briefing.

The network allegedly imported goods from China that imitated 70 national and international brands, including Nike, Oakley, Kate Spade and Armani.

There was no mention that at least two were illegal aliens, no mention that Chinese immigrants dominate the counterfeit luxury goods industry in the San Francisco area, as well as the rest of the United States. This enterprising reporter is less than enterprising, obviously instructed or conditioned not to mention important facts that would impact non-white ethnic groups. One wonders why Will Kane went into journalism, perhaps to change the world, to the favor of minorities. Perhaps you can ask him: wkane@sfchronicle.com

The PhillyBurbs was much better and more honest. They reported that some of the Chinese arrested were illegal aliens. And since they are so far away, one could excuse the lack of interest or knowledge of the Chinese and luxury goods counterfeiting. As well as the wide scale vending of said goods in stores through out San Francisco, especially in Chinatown.

The defendants are owners or employees of eight stores raided in recent months. Two are illegal immigrants.

The other important issue about this operation is that it informs about the priorities or lack thereof of ICE. The investigation began in 2007 and only resulted in ten arrests three years later:

Authorities said the operation was first discovered in December 2007 when customs officials seized a container at the Port of Oakland that contained 50,000 counterfeit designer accessories valued - if they were genuine - at $22 million.

Not a very productive use of time and resources. For three years these conspirators brought hundreds of millions of dollars of counterfeit goods, with illegal aliens operating openly in this crime. One need not mention that there are more than two illegal aliens from China in San Francisco. I wonder how long this counterfeiting ring could have lasted if ICE routinely conducted sweeps of Chinatown or targeted employers of illegals at the many retail outlets in San Francisco who employ illegals. Clearly if ICE was more aggressive the smugglers would not be able to import, transport, or sell at retail these counterfeit goods. Aggressive enforcement, including raiding employers not reporting employee information or reporting false Social Security Numbers or stolen SSNs, inspecting retail and service industry places of business, high-profile raids, and sweeps would have solved this problem in a few months rather than waiting years for a measly 10 arrests.

ICE clearly is not much interested in the illegal aliens or suppressing illegal alien and immigrant dominated crime in San Francisco. The problem of counterfeiting luxury goods started long before 2007 and continues today, aided in most by immigrants, legal and illegal.

No comments: