RealNews

Knockoff Dealers Could Have Designs on Terror

A Senate panel is told that some traffickers of high-end counterfeits have ties to Hezbollah. When Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. John Stedman was booking a clothing store owner last year on charges of selling counterfeit high-fashion merchandise, his attention was drawn to the large and colorful tattoo on the man’s arm. The tattoo included Arabic writing, suggesting it wasn’t a gang symbol or the mark of one of the many organized crime syndicates that have helped make dealing in knockoff goods — like Gucci handbags, Prada shoes and Louis Vuitton watches — a multibillion-dollar industry in the United States. It turned out to be a symbol of allegiance to Hezbollah, the Islamic militant organization that the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist group. Full Story

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