coronavirus

$163K in Fake N95 Masks Seized in Shipment at Boston's Port

“Counterfeit personal protective equipment puts frontline workers and the general public’s health at risk,” said a Boston customs and border official

A fake N95 mask seized by border agents in Boston
Customs and Border Patrol

Just over 20,000 counterfeit N95 masks being shipped into the United States were seized at a port facility in Boston this month, according to Customs and Border Protection officials.

The masks had a value of $163,200 but were spotted by specialists in clothes, shoes and textiles, according to a CBP statement released Thursday.

“Counterfeit personal protective equipment puts frontline workers and the general public’s health at risk,” said Michael Denning, director of field operations for the Boston Field Office, in a statement. “CBP Officers and our trade teams are trained to identify and intercept these dangerous goods before they can do harm to our communities and the American consumer.”

The 20,400 masks were shipped from Hong Kong in 43 boxes, officials said.

N95 masks are medical-grade face coverings that have been highly sought after during the coronavirus pandemic for their ability to protect people wearing them from most airborne particles, if worn right.

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Some people are trying to exploit the demand for medical equipment by selling counterfeit or unapproved equipment, according to customs and border patrol officials, who say they're examining imports and exports for evidence of that kind of criminal activity.

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