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Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 11:34pm
EL PASO- When you get right down to it, The Super Bowl week is all about business. This also includes illegal business.
We're talking about knockoff merchandise like NFL jerseys that are manufactured without the league's permission, and then go on the black market.
Merchandise is called counterfeit or fake if its manufactured secretly, and without permission from the real brand maker.
ICE agents are busy this week raiding businesses that sell fake merchandise.
In a central El Paso market, they seized fake goods that might have sold for up to $200,000 dollars.
"They do take advantage of all the hoopla surrounding The Super Bowl. All of the enthusiasm, and of course the fans to be able to sell or wear during this time,” said ICE Spokesperson Leticia Zamarripa.
How would you feel if your favorite sports jersey was counterfeit?
"I would feel cheated. I would feel like I got robbed because I paid for something I was expecting to get, and turned out to get something that was less quality. So, I would feel ripped off,” said shopper Cristina Bringas.
Bringas figures some people would buy a fake item anyway if the price is right.
"Especially in this economy. Of course everybody is looking to save a buck, so you know I'm sure that's the reason a lot of people do it. They still want to wear nice things, but maybe they can't afford the real stuff. So, they'll pay for you know the imitation,” said Bringas.
"It's cheaper and you can buy more stuff, and if you buy something real, it's like more expensive,” said shopper Josselin Hernandez.
ICE agents say that if you choose to buy counterfeit items, you're probably supporting other criminal activity.
"This business can be quite lucrative, and we know for a fact these illicit profits can go to further other criminal enterprises. We know that it's the same people who are smuggling the drugs, who are smuggling the weapons,” said Zamarripa.
ICE also says that counterfeit items pose a health risk because people who make fake good don't typically care about health codes and the material could be harmful.