A man allegedly part of a ring importing counterfeit sneakers for sale in New York City has been arrested at a Washington-area airport, federal authorities said.
Qing Fu Zeng was taken into custody last Friday at Dulles International Airport on an arrest warrant issued under seal Dec. 6. He is in the process of being transferred back to New York, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn said Tuesday.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the warrant, Zeng allegedly used an elaborate scheme to impersonate legitimate import businesses and their executives. He then purportedly used those misleading identities to import fake Nike sneakers into the Port of New York and New Jersey.
One such shipment was alleged to be labeled as glass vases, but when search at the port, was found instead to be full of boxes of shoes. The contents ended up at a Brooklyn warehouse. Another container arrived a few weeks later, also labeled as vases but carrying shoes instead. That one ended up at a Long Island City warehouse, the government alleged.
Federal agents have identified nearly 130 shipping containers filled with purportedly counterfeit goods linked to a ring of importers from China in the last few years, the affidavit noted. Of those containers, 22 that arrived from 2012 to 2016 held counterfeit versions of real merchandise worth $472 million.
Attorney information for Zeng was not immediately available.
This story has been updated to reflect the correct date of Zeng's arrest.