The Bust of Counterfeit Goods in the Pendergrass Flea Market

The morning of April 18, the Pendergrass Flea Market was raided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Homeland security started their search for copies and fake items at 9 a.m. so people would not have time to discharge the evidence.

Many vendors received fines up to $10,000. Other vendors had their items packed up by the agents and taken away for further investigation.

The first vendor to be inspected by the agents was Jay Kim at 9:03 a.m. Kim sells phone accessories and cases, but the problem was he possessed fake AirPods and fake Louis Vuitton cases in his store. Kim said luck is never on his side because he had just brought the items to the store that day. He said, “I don’t like selling fake items, but everyone does it and every customer knew they were not buying real Apple or LV items.” The morning started out normal, but soon it became a game of survival because people did not want to lose their items or get fined. Kim said that they took the items off the walls themselves and threw everything in boxes. It did not end there, they made him sign five different packets of papers, and they took a picture of his ID and his face.

There was another vendor that warned everyone in the market. He was with Jay Kim when the agents arrived. He ran away when he got the hint of what was going on. He does not want to give out his name to be safe. He ran to his stores first and threw everything in boxes and closed for the day. After he was secured, he started running up and down the avenues warning different vendors. Many vendors closed their stores for the day because they had counterfeit items too. DHS did not like that stores were closed so they tried taking pictures through the cracks of the gates.

However, DHS did not lose time because they kept walking and investigating. By 9:30 a.m., they arrived at a booth that claimed to sell products from brands such as Gucci, LV, Chanel, Fossil, and Prada, and products including jewelry, perfumes, clothing, and bags. The agents packed up everything and took it away. Leaving the owner with a fine of $10,000 and no items. This happened to many others, and it left them in confusion.

“I lost so much money, but at least I’m not in prison.” – Unnamed vendor 

Everyone was confused because the vendors and customers thought that was the purpose of the flea market. They had the idea that the market was a place where you can find copies of items for way cheaper than the price of an original. Many people did not think it was illegal to sell items like that because they had easy access online to purchase them.

In the future, vendors were warned that the DHS would be back to do another round of inspecting and removing illegal counterfeit goods. If the vendors that were caught the first time are caught with counterfeit items in their possession again, they will be arrested. The first time it was just a warning, but the second time it is terminal. It is believed from rumors that the DHS is creating a case against the Pendergrass Flea Market because the market could have prevented people from selling counterfeit items.