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CBP officers donate clothing seized in Champlain

CHAMPLAIN - One bad deed has turned into a good one.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations recently donated more than 2,300 pieces of seized counterfeit children's clothing to the St. Mary's Mission Center, a non-profit organization in Champlain which supports families in and around the North Country.

The items were seized at the Champlain Port of Entry in February after CBP officers and Import Specialists targeted a shipment of clothing destined to Hollywood, Calif. Inspection of the shipment revealed the children's clothing, which included shirts and pants bearing the logos of cartoon characters Spongebob Squarepants, Tweety Bird and Sylvester, contained counterfeit trademarks. The manufacturer's suggested retail price of the clothing was $35,000.

"The hard work and dedication of the CBP employees at the Port of Champlain made it possible to donate the children's clothing to the local charity," Paul Stephan Mongillo, CBP Port Director of the Champlain Port of Entry, said in a prepared statement.

"This is a win-win situation," added Diann Snell, CBP Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures Officer for the Champlain Port of Entry. "The counterfeit goods are not permitted for sale in the U.S. and the goods are being distributed to families in need."

According to information from CBP, the agency is responsible for enforcing trade laws and preventing the distribution of counterfeit merchandise. Upon completion of the administrative forfeiture procedures, seized merchandise may be donated to relief efforts and to charity, with the trademark owner's approval. Products that threaten the health and safety of American consumers are destroyed.

Fred Stone, co-director of St. Mary's Mission Center, said the donation was greatly appreciated. Stone said he had reached out to CBP letting them know if items such as these were ever found and able to be donated, they would be of great help to the center.

"We had written them a letter asking that because we would hate to have seen perfectly good clothing thrown out," said Stone. "The need in this area is not diminishing at all, so we're rattling every bush we can."

"It was very nice of them to think of us," he added.

Stone said if anyone has items that can be donated to the center, he'd be more than happy to take them.

Those interested in making a donation to St. Mary's Mission Center or in volunteering at the center, can contact Stone at 298-3503.

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