Washington: US federal agents at Chicago’s O’Hare airport seized more than 65,000 3M N95 type masks which turned out to be counterfeit, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a release.
“Officers… recently seized 136 boxes containing suspicious 3M N95 type masks with a 3M trademark,” the release said on Friday. “[The] 65,280 3M N95 masks… [had] a Domestic Value of over $401,000.”
CBP said the shipments arrived from Colombia and were en route to a company based in the US state of Virginia.
“These counterfeit masks are extremely dangerous and provide a false sense of security to American consumers,” Assistant Area Port Director-Chicago, Hans Leiterman said as quoted by the release on Friday. “Unfortunately, there is no shortage of bad actors out there trying to take advantage of consumers during a global pandemic.”
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has been actively exploited by criminal enterprises attempting to sell unapproved and unsafe medical protective equipment while CBP’s mission was to protect consumers and reduce costs, the release said.
COVID-19 has become the biggest challenge for the medical and pharmaceutical industry in 2020. The first months of the fight against the pandemic were marked by severe shortages of personal protective equipment which was overcome only in a few months