ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - While hundreds of vendors are selling merchandise at the state fair this week, one vendor has been arrested after being accused of selling counterfeit goods.
Homeland Security Investigations busted the vendor Thursday afternoon inside the vendor hall at the New Mexico State Fair. Investigators won’t say much, but spent hours seizing stuff they say could play into national security.
Agents were seen filling multiple boxes with fake designer jewelry, sunglasses cases and wallets among others items.
“They've been here for like four hours,” said Dave Williams, a neighboring vendor.
HSI won’t comment on the specifics of the case, but the high-end knock-off merchandise is usually sold for thousands of dollars.
“We're seeing an increase in counterfeit goods in all the states,” said Kevin Abar, an assistant agent for HSI in New Mexico.
Abar says the sale of counterfeit goods is something the feds want to stop quickly.
“Purchasing counterfeit goods, it's not a victim-less crime,” said Abar.
It’s not easy to see, Abar says, but investigators say the impact is big in terms of safety.
“We did a case on batteries, lithium batteries. Well, the chemical make-up actually created them where they actually caught on fire,” said Abar, adding they've also seen baby formula with lead in it sold for big bucks.
Counterfeit handbags and jewelry can be a matter of national security, too, Abar said.
"We're seeing that across the board. This money is going back to - could be to drug organizations, criminal organizations across the board to fund their endeavors,” said Abar.
Abar said investigators have seen counterfeit products sold in mall kiosks as well and adds HSI wants to keep the public safe.
“We look at it at a community impact. We want to make sure individuals are safe,” said Abar.
HSI says it can't comment any further on the state fair booth that was shut down Thursday because the case is in the hands of the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The New Mexico State Fair and the State Police also refused to confirm the name of the booth, whether or not the booth is running again or the name of the person who the booth was registered to. A spokesman at the State Fair deferred to New Mexico State Fair, who deferred to HSI officials who said they can’t confirm any information.
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