Anchorage-based customs inspectors seized more than 12,000 counterfeit iPhone connector cables and adapters sent from China to the U.S. in mid-December, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The inspectors discovered the iPhone 5 accessories, which were stamped with fraudulent Apple logos and Underwriters Laboratory icons, while searching boxes at FedEx's Anchorage sorting facility, said Frank Falcon, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection. A manufacturer in China had sent the products to a U.S. wholesaler, which Falcon declined to name.
Falcon said inspectors will often choose shipments at random when deciding which ones to look at more closely. In this case, the large international shipment carried an improper shipping manifest and the cords' packaging was of a lower quality than typical Apple packaging, he said.
Based on normal retail prices, the accessories were worth more than $636,000, Falcon said. The counterfeit cords are often sold in retail stores or online, he said. But the cords are now set to be destroyed.
"I think the most important thing, as far as all counterfeit items, people should be aware of the safety issues and the lower quality involved, and the fact that they're affecting the U.S. economy," Falcon said. "The people that work here and build these products ... are losing out, because somebody is making money on the fakes ones."
As counterfeit goods are often shoddy, the cords and adapters might have posed a risk of starting a fire or damaging electronics, Falcon said.
Reach Casey Grove at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4589.
By CASEY GROVE