A new multi-agency task force designed to protect national security and combat counterfeit goods was launched recently in Detroit and could serve as a national model for related investigations.

According to a press release from the Department of Homeland Security, the Global Trade Task Force is led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and combines the investigative, interdiction, regulatory, and licensing capabilities of a variety of agencies, including HSI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Industry and Security, and the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

The GTTF’s primary mission is to counter the following types of illicit commercial activities.

- trafficking of counterfeit, substandard, or tainted goods, with an emphasis on those that pose a threat to public health or safety including pharmaceuticals and cosmeceuticals; automotive, aerospace, rail, and heavy industry products; and environmental crimes

- financially-motivated fraud schemes that deprive the U.S. government of revenue, harm businesses or rights holders, or undermine financial institutions

- illegal export of U.S. military products, sensitive dual-use technology, weapons of mass destruction, or chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials

The press release states that the task force will use “robust import and export controls and investigative authorities” to combat these activities. Its first enforcement operation targeted goods and shipments entering and exiting the U.S. at express delivery, rail, and centralized examination station facilities in the Detroit area. During this weeklong effort HSI and CBP seized more than $1 million worth of counterfeit goods and prescription drugs, including transceiver network modules, e-cigarettes, watches, and smartphones.

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