MIAMI (CBS4) – A truckload of suspected counterfeit merchandise was removed from a South Florida warehouse Thursday afternoon.
Special agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations carried out a search warrant at the business near SW 72nd Ave. and Bird Road in South Miami.
They had to bust through drywall to get to the goods.
“They were trying to open the door and there were cops all over getting boxes,” witness Vanessa Siverio said.
Inside the warehouse, it was a shopper’s dream, if suspected knockoffs are your style.
“Well, they sell it cheaper,” a man who asked to be referred to simply as “Boris” said.
Boris said he often visits the warehouse to sell flowers. When asked what types of items were sold there, he said, “Imitation for people to buy wholesale and then resell in the streets.”
“It’s a better price,” he said. “It’s a business.”
According to neighbors at the industrial complex, business was good.
“Always a lot of people going in and out,” Siverio said.
The warehouse, which is registered to a company called Shoe Universe, was set up to look like a legitimate store, complete with mannequins.
There were racks upon racks of supposed designer duds, including luxury brands like Dolce and Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors.
As special agents filled the truck, curious neighbors looked on.
“It’s scary,” Edda Martinez told CBS 4′s Lauren Pastrana.
Martinez’s well-known bakery, “Cake Designs by Edda”, is right across the street from the warehouse in question.
“We saw always a lot of people going in and out with the big bags,” she said. “Like trash can bags, those black ones, big ones.”
Sources with knowledge of the investigation said the goods are valued at more than a million dollars.
Now, they’re all packed in evidence boxes.
CBS4 cameras were rolling as several people knocked on the warehouse door.
When asked what they came to buy, some said nothing.
One woman said, “I was going meet somebody here, but I’ve never been here before.”
It’s likely she won’t be back, now that the warehouse is basically empty.
No arrests have been made.
The investigation is ongoing.