Feds: Man Smuggled Labels to Make $192K Worth of Fake Levi's Jeans

Southern California resident Angel Garcia Hernandez, 55, smuggled the labels across the U.S.-Mexico border in December 2012 -- enough to make $192,000 worth of knock-off jeans

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    The familiar red tag from a pair of authentic Levi's 550 jeans.

    A Southern California man is now awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to smuggling fake labels, tags and buttons across the U.S.-Mexico border meant to be used to manufacture at least $192,000 worth of counterfeit brand-name jeans.

    According to U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy, defendant Angel Garcia Hernandez, 55, admitted to smuggling fake Levi Strauss & Co. labels, buttons and tags across the border on Dec. 28, 2012. With this guilty plea, Garcia Hernandez faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for his involvement in the denim scam.

    Court documents reveal that within an hour of Garcia Hernandez’s border crossing, another man – Amadeo Calderon Valdivinos – also attempted to smuggle counterfeit Levi labels into the U.S. through the San Ysidro Port of Entry in south San Diego.

    Officials with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations said Valdivinos had enough labels and tags to make $128,000 worth of knock-off brand-name jeans.

    Upon examining the labels smuggled in by both men, investigators found the same defects in the labels, suggesting that they came from the same source.

    Though Garcia Hernandez and Valdivinos both denied knowing one another at the time they crossed the border with the fake labels, investigators said cell phone records showed multiple phone calls between the men.

    Garcia Hernandez’s sentencing has been scheduled for Aug. 1. Valdivinos also pleaded guilty to the smuggling crime and was sentenced to time served.