Federal authorities seized over 100,000 counterfeit N95 masks from a warehouse in El Paso, Texas. The fake masks were worth an estimated $600,000 and were meant to be shipped to hospital workers on the East Coast.
Special agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations worked with 3M, the company that makes the surgical masks, to determine that the masks in the shipment were fake.
"The seizure of these counterfeit surgical masks not only ensures the health and safety of our frontline health care workers by preventing them from receiving inferior personal protective equipment, it also protects the integrity of the American economy. We will continue to aggressively investigate, arrest and prosecute criminal counterfeiters who show a total disregard for human life and take advantage of a relentless world pandemic for economic gain," said Erik P. Breitzke, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI El Paso.
Officials did not say where the masks were shipped from or if they had made any arrests in the case.
The raid was part of "Operation Stolen Promises," an initiative launched in April to crack down on scams related to the coronavirus pandemic. So far, federal agents have arrested 187 people and seized more than $28 million from alleged scammers.
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