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Fake socks shipment seized, federal officials say

Tens of thousands of shady socks were headed for Washington area, government says

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized a second significant shipment of counterfeit diabetic socks on July 29 that were destined to an address in Loudoun County, Va. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

The feds, it seems, have foiled another effort to ship millions of dollars worth of allegedly fake socks into the Washington area.

After reading the announcement made Tuesday by Customs and Border Protection about what it said were counterfeit cotton footwear items, it may be easy to smile at the picture of federal agents stooping to the seizure of socks as part of their daily work.

The 165,707 pairs of suspect diabetic socks were seized July 29 in the Norfolk area while headed for Loudoun County, Va. Had they been authentic, they would have been appraised at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of more than $2.6 million, CBP officials said.

According to CBP, users’ health and safety could have been adversely affected by counterfeits, the agency said. In fact, CBP said, these were “counterfeit cotton diabetic socks.”

“Diabetic socks are specialty socks that are non-elastic to reduce pressure and swelling, that eliminate friction that may cause discomfort, and that help keep the patient’s foot dry,” CBP said. “Any level of substandard manufacturing may seriously endanger the health and well-being of diabetic patients.”

Specifically, CBP said, these imported socks “violated the Cotton seal trademark. ”

It was not clear from the CBP announcement whether or in what ways the seized socks strayed from standards.

Another shipment of counterfeit socks, valued at nearly $2 million, was seized last month by CBP in the area of the Port of Norfolk-Newport News, the agency said.

The agency indicated in its Tuesday announcement that it did not intend to drag its feet in stopping allegedly counterfeit merchandise from entering the United States. But it appeared to recognize the inherent possibility for amusement in the enforcement action.

The announcement came under a headline reporting that CBP officers in the Norfolk area had seized a second “significant sham socks shipment.”

It seemed likely that the author was aware of the potential of those words to challenge “She sells sea shells by the sea shore” in the lingual dexterity sweepstakes.