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Feds seize more than 200k counterfeit surgical masks intended for hospital workers

Fake Masks at Sky Harbor
Posted at 5:50 PM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 00:29:22-05

PHOENIX — Officials say over 200,000 counterfeit 3M N95 surgical masks intended for hospital workers have been confiscated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Immigrants and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officials say in October, as part of "Operation Stolen Promise," federal officers at Sky Harbor intercepted a shipment intended for a local business and found it contained 3M N95 masks. Officials say after examining the masks, it was determined they were counterfeit.

Officials later determined this small business was conducting transactions with a related company under investigation for selling counterfeit masks.

While investigating the business, agents discovered the same counterfeit 3M N95 masks as the ones secured at the airport. Officials say more than 20,000 counterfeit 3M N95 masks were seized at the company's warehouse.

Officials say agents during their investigation, recalled and seized an additional 10 pallets containing 95,480 counterfeit 3M N95 masks that were already shipped to hospitals throughout the nation for healthcare workers use.

ICE HSI launched Operation Stolen Promise in April to protect U.S. consumers from the increasing and evolving threat posed by the pandemic.