U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized some strings as it picked up 36 counterfeit guitars at Washington Dulles International Airport.
If the guitars were authentic, they would have had a suggested retail price of $158,692.
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The guitars arrived in 36 different shipments from China on Dec. 15 and officers suspected the guitars to be counterfeit and detained them to continue their investigation. The collection consisted of 27 Gibson, six Fender, two CF Martin and one Paul Reed Smith guitars and allegedly were autographed and played by famous musicians.
According to a news release, many of the Gibsons were of the Les Paul line of custom guitars, and even Jimmy Page’s Gibson Double Neck made the collection. An ax autographed by Guns and Roses guitarist Slash was also included.
Photos: Airport Customs Seize 36 Counterfeit Guitars Allegedly Played by Famous Musicians
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The most expensive guitar was a Gibson Ace Frehley valued at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $9,000.
“Transnational criminal organizations will counterfeit anything that generates illicit revenues, and unscrupulous vendors line their pockets by preying on unsuspecting consumers,” said Keith Fleming, CBP’s Acting Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.
CBP officers seized the guitars on Jan. 20, and import specialists from the CBP worked with trademark holders to confirm the guitars were counterfeit.
The guitars were set to arrive in 21 states and to Australia.
CBP encourages consumers to protect themselves and their families by always purchasing safe, authentic goods from authorized and reputable vendors. Counterfeit consumer goods are illegal, violate lawful property rights, and are often made in unregulated facilities with potentially harmful materials that could threaten consumers’ health.
“Protecting intellectual property rights is a Customs and Border Protection trade enforcement priority, and CBP officers will continue to seize counterfeit and potentially unsafe consumer goods when we encounter them,” Fleming said.
CBP officers have not encountered any additional guitars since these 36 arrived.