Counterfeit condoms uncovered in $150K Houston bust, records show

Friday, February 23, 2024
Counterfeit condoms uncovered in $150K Houston bust, records show
Two Houston men are accused of distributing over $150,000 in counterfeit condoms and lighters, court records show.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Police Department arrested two men accused of distributing more than $150,000 worth of counterfeit condoms and lighters, according to court records.

Ali Zeeshan and Dhanju Shehbah, who have already bonded out of jail, face a felony charge of trademark counterfeiting.

In 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than 40,000 counterfeit condoms imported into Puerto Rico from China.

University of Houston Professor Barbara Stewart believes the counterfeit market for illegal goods is becoming more lucrative.

"The label, the packaging looks so good that maybe to the uninformed consumer, it looks like the same thing," Stewart said.

CBP data shows the agency seized over $2.4 billion in counterfeit goods last fiscal year.

"If you think of the value as you move into high end - the price tickets - we're talking about billions and billions of dollars," Stewart said.

Stewart said both the consumer and companies are hurt by criminals who counterfeit.

"They find a legitimate good either by high volume or price tag. They find a less expensive way to offer a similar but not exactly same product to consumers," Stewart said.

According to health experts, using counterfeit condoms can cause sexually transmitted diseases and lead to pregnancy.

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