Mexican drug cartels are now in the business of counterfeit luxury watches. That’s what US Customs officials are saying after confiscating over 1,000 imitation Audemars Piguet watches at the Laredo, Texas border crossing. The knock-offs were interspersed with 3,080 genuine Audemars Piguet pieces, which were intended to mask the presence of the fakes.
Border agents were able to determine the watches were not genuine by looking at subtle characteristics that might slip an untrained eye, like the number of screws or the angles of the body. Such expertise was vital in this case, because while the design of these watches is trademarked, there is no brand name or any other marking.
The estimated value of the seized watches would have been over $28.7 million if they had been genuine, which makes this the largest seizure of contraband ever caught at the Laredo Port of Entry.