Counterfeit Items Destroyed As Two Year Investigation Winds Down
TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – They are brand names everyone recognizes, Polo, Louis Vuitton and The North Face, The only problem, all of this merchandise is fake.
“Flip it around and you see where it’s sewn through, you know it’s counterfeit,” Attorney General Jim Hood said, as he took merchandise from boxes and threw it on a conveyer belt.
Attorney General Jim Hood was on hand at Tupelo Recycling to help dispose of the contraband. It was seized as part of a two year investigation into an Okolona store called Urban Wear. That store was owned by Willie and Sophia McMillian. The Chickasaw County couple plead guilty last week in connection with the case. Mr McMillian was sentenced to five years in prison, with one suspended. His wife received a five year suspended sentence. The Attorney General says law officers knew something wasn’t quite right at the store.
“People were lined up in the street as I recall, going in there buying items so we got onto that,” Hood said.
Hood says people may be lured by low prices, for instance, this $40 fake North Face jacket sells for $160 in reputable stores. But the Attorney General says the contraband could be dangerous, for instance, there’s no way to know if the dye used in the clothing is safe. And there is another major concern.
“A lot of it is sold, by terrorism, it’s used to fund terrorism. Some cases we have worked has been tracked back to individuals in Yemen, so it hurts a lot of people,” he said.
It took a team effort to crack this case. In fact, the Okolona Police Department and Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office received nearly $5,000 each from cash seized as part of the investigation.
“We will be able to put it into the general fund to use for equipment , whatever we see necessary for sheriff’s office and the county,” said Chickasaw County Chief Deputy James Myers.
“I just appreciate everybodys effort, we got mission accomplished, and furthermore, let that be a lesson to the rest of them, not to do it,” said Okolona Police Chief Willie Moore, Jr.
After the counterfeit goods are baled, they will be loaded onto a truck, and taken to the landfill to be disposed of. Although this case is closed, the attorney general and area law enforcement say they will remain vigilant and on the lookout for those peddling fake goods.