More than $630K worth of counterfeit soccer merchandise covered near NRG as part of nationwide investigation, officials say

HOUSTON – Law enforcement officials have reportedly found approximately $631,926 worth of counterfeit soccer merchandise after a week-long investigation throughout the Houston area.

According to officials, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston, the Houston Police Department (HPD), and US Customs and Border Protection worked on the case, which was conducted during the week leading up to a Premier League preseason soccer match on July 20 at NRG Park.

The investigation was said to have been part of a nationwide effort called “Operation Team Player.”

During the investigation, authorities said they found more than 6,593 items of counterfeit soccer merchandise.

“Major sporting events routinely attract transnational criminal organizations and other bad actors involved in the illicit sale of counterfeit merchandise and tickets,” said HSI Houston’s Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson. “HSI Houston is committed to working in conjunction with our partners from other law enforcement agencies and private industry to aggressively investigate the trademark counterfeiting to protect consumers and ensure a level playing field for legitimate businesses.”

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It is unclear if any arrests were made immediately following the investigation.

Residents who think they may have encountered counterfeit goods or merchandise are encouraged to report it to local law enforcement or by calling the HSI tip-line at 1-866-DHS-2423. The public may also visit www.IPRCenter.gov and click on “Report IP Theft” to submit a tip online anonymously.

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