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US Busts Multi-Million Dollar Counterfeiting Ring Linked to China

Counterfeit Coach handbags seized by federal authorities in New Jersey (file photo)

U.S. prosecutors say about two dozen people have been arrested in a multi-million dollar counterfeiting ring that shipped fake brand-label goods from China to the United States.

Officials say 29 people belonging to two criminal groups are charged with conspiring to bring $325 million in counterfeit goods, including designer UGG boots, Gucci handbags and Nike sneakers into a busy New Jersey port - Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal - on the U.S. Atlantic Coast.

Prosecutors say most of nearly two dozen arrests were made in the New Jersey and New York region Friday, with one arrest made in Manilla, the Philippines' capital. Officials say several suspects remain at large.

The arrests are the result of a two-year investigation by U.S. law enforcement agencies. U.S. investigators first began looking into the case on a tip from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The charges include conspiracy, trafficking in counterfeit goods, and money laundering. Officials say their counterfeiting probe led them to a drug trafficking ring. Three of the suspects are charged with importing 50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from Taiwan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.