ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - A 29-year-old St. Johns County man was arrested Tuesday afternoon on charges of possession of counterfeit products and selling of counterfeit products.
A special agent with Homeland Security Investigations began investigating Tyrone Lewis in April 2012 for trafficking in counterfeit goods. During that time, Lewis had been warned on three occasions to cease and desist from importing counterfeit products, deputies said.
IMAGES: Counterfeit iPhone cases seized
Homeland Security Investigations, in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, intercepted two packages that were addressed in a fictitious name from a counterfeit distributor out of China. The contents, 148 Lifeproof iPhone cases, were determined to be counterfeit.
Deputies said Lewis was receiving the packages in the fictitious name and advertising the iPhone cases on an Internet commerce site. Deputies said undercover detectives made a controlled purchase of two cases Tuesday.
Based on the evidence, a search warrant was obtained for Lewis' home and was served following the delivery of the two packages of suspected counterfeit products.
During the search, detectives seized additional alleged counterfeit iPhone cases, alleged counterfeit DVDs and DS games. Estimated retail value of the seized property was more than $20,000.
Detectives also seized the Lewis' 2011 Hyundai Elantra, which was used in the undercover purchase of two phone cases.
"Although this individual was selling counterfeit products across the country, he was also selling these illegal products to our own citizens in St. Johns County through the Internet," St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar said.
"Counterfeit goods are often substandard products. We've seen Christmas lights that catch fire and medications composed of harmful chemicals," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Tampa. "Time and time again, we warn consumers, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is."
Lewis was booked into the St. Johns County Jail and was released after posting an $11,000 bond following a first appearance hearing.
Detectives are continuing the investigation.
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