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Suspected designer bootleggers cuffed

Detectives pose as shoppers at swap meet

Posted: March 2, 2009 11:23 p.m.
Updated: March 3, 2009 4:59 a.m.
 
A Santa Clarita Superior Court judge will arraign eight suspects today on suspicion of selling counterfeit designer clothing, a sheriff's official said.

Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's deputies swarmed the swap meet at the Saugus Speedway in the 22500 block of Soledad Canyon Road on Sunday, and arrested eight people accused of selling counterfeit clothing and handbags, Lt. Brenda Cambra said.

Two of the suspects live in Santa Clarita. Deputies arrested Gisela Rosales, 21 of Saugus, and Patricia Sanchez, 36 of Canyon Country, in the sweep. Sanchez and Rosales are being held in lieu of $20,000 bail each. The other suspects are reportedly from out of the area.

The counterfeited brands included Ed Hardy, True Religion Brand Jeans, Lacoste, Abercrombie & Fitch and Louis Vuitton, Cambra said.

The apparel companies hired a private investigative firm with experience in identifying knock-off apparel to help chase down the alleged bootleggers, she said.

"The private investigators tipped off the deputies and we set up the sting," Cambra said.

The private investigators posed as shoppers looking for the bogus brands, she said.

The investigators hit the swap meet early Sunday morning, purchasing phony designers handbags and knockoff couture clothing between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., she said.

After confirming the brands were counterfeits, deputies swept the swap meets for the alleged bootleggers, Cambra said.

Deputies arrested seven adults and one juvenile for felony sale of counterfeit goods.

If the goods confiscated in the sweep were authentic, the shirts, pants and handbags would be worth more than $300,000, Cambra said.

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