11 Jun 2013

CNMI customs discover thousands of illegal items

1:49 pm on 11 June 2013

A businessman is being prosecuted in the Northern Marianas after customs officials discovered more than 12,000 fake labeled clothing items and other contraband in a shipping container from China last month.

The director of the CNMI Customs service Jose Mafnas says replica Burberry and Ralph Lauren shirts were found, along with cigarettes and liquor.

He says the alleged smuggler, a local Chinese businessman, could have made about half a million US dollars from the sale of the items.

Mr Mafnas says they suspect some of the goods would have been shipped off-island and says a small-scale underground garment factory could have been set up in CNMI.

"There is a cutting machine that came in on the container and also raw materials, we found labels also in rows as made in the Northern Mariana islands, USA, which we don't have any garment factories now in the CNMI."

Jose Mafnas says they are now focussing on containers coming from high risk countries like China and the Philippines.