PENNSYLVANIA'S #1 WEEKLY NEWSPAPER • locally owned since 1854

Gotta catch 'em all! Customs agents in Harrisburg seize 86,000 counterfeit Pokemon toys


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Harrisburg seized more than 86,000 counterfeit Pokemon action figurines Wednesday that, If authentic, would have had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of nearly $604,000.

While inspecting international parcels May 4, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers examined a shipment manifested as “plastic furnishing articles” that arrived from Hong Kong, according to a press release. The shipment contained 15 boxes that contained a combined 86,400 Pokemon toy action figures.

Working with the trademark holder, CBP confirmed that the figurines were counterfeit. CBP import specialists appraised the shipment at $603,936. Officers seized the shipment for violating U.S. intellectual property rights. The parcel was destined for an address in Snyder County. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspected the parcels at an express delivery site there after they arrived by air from overseas. They were trucked to that company’s distribution center near Harrisburg where CBP officers from the Port of Harrisburg office examined the shipment. A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection would not specify where the distribution center is located or the company.

The figurines are small and pose a potential choking hazard to children, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported. Additionally, counterfeit toys tend to be coated in excessive levels of lead paint. No lead testing was conducted on these toys.

“In addition to protecting the trademark holder’s intellectual property rights, Customs and Border Protection’s primary concern with counterfeit consumer goods is the potential harm they can cause to American consumers, such as the choking hazard these figurines pose to children,” said Michelle Stover, CBP’s port director for the Port of Harrisburg. “CBP officers remain committed to working with our consumer safety partners to protect American consumers by seizing dangerous counterfeit goods at our nation’s ports of entry.”

CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of Americans, the press release stated.

On a typical day in 2019, CBP officers seized $4.3 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations, according to the release.

CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigation agents seized 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in fiscal year 2019.

E- Commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value packages imported into the United States.

The People’s Republic of China (mainland China and Hong Kong) remained the primary source economy for seized counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for 83 percent of all IPR seizures and 92 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures, the press release stated.