Homeland Security Investigates Counterfeit Operation
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After a huge bust at a Downtown Fresno clothing store involving counterfeit merchandise, Action News wanted to know just exactly why homeland security had gotten involved.Homeland Security experts say counterfeit clothing sales are often linked to drug trafficking and terrorist activities.
As Action News first reported Tuesday night, Fresno police raided Jazzy Jeans N Things clothing store on Fresno and F Street. They confiscated half a million dollars worth of phony designer jeans, T-shirts, handbags and shoes.
The store's owner Bobby Griffin also known as Bobby Smallwood was arrested on felony charges of possession and sale of counterfeit merchandise.
Sergeant Ron Grimm, part of the homeland security team within the Fresno police department, says he's been told that counterfeit items, whether it's clothes or airplane parts, are often linked to organized crime and sometimes even international terrorism. In the case of Jazzy Jeans he's not really sure.
Grimm said, "There is very little likelihood that there is a direct connection to international terrorism based on this investigation. However, the profits from counterfeit merchandise have been identified as supporting other criminal enterprises. That's the message we want to get across."
Action News called the store's owner Bobby Griffin but after answering the phone and identifying himself he refused to answer any questions and hung up.
Former Fresno City Councilman and California Advocate Newspaper founder Les Kimber has known Griffin for 45 years. He described the businessman as likeable and a good guy and can't believe his friend is in trouble.
Kimber said, "If that is true -- and I don't think it is -- it would be a bigger shock to me than the Tiger Woods saga."
The investigation is far from over. Police want to know who provided all the cash to buy the counterfeit merchandise and where the profits from the operation have gone.
fresno downtown, crimetracker, department of homeland security, local, liz harrison
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