DHS seizes over 11 million counterfeit 3M N95 masks, more raids to come

This December 2020, image offered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reveals Fatherland Security Investigations El Paso individuals and U.S. Customs and Border Security officers working at some level of a seizure of faux N95 surgical masks at an El Paso Port cargo facility in El Paso, Texas.

ICE by AP

The Division of Fatherland Security on Wednesday announced that it seized greater than 11 million faux 3M N95 respirator masks that were destined for frontline successfully being-care workers.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated at a press convention that the seizures were made over the closing few weeks, including hundreds and hundreds of masks chanced on in an east soar warehouse at some level of raids earlier Wednesday.

Mayorkas stated Fatherland Security brokers had been investigating conditions and already served search warrants in five states across the U.S. over the last two weeks. Extra raids, he stated, are anticipated over the following couple of weeks.

The raids were performed as fragment of Operation Stolen Promise, which became launched in April by Fatherland Security and partners across government and the personal sector to examine Covid-19-linked fraud.

“We’re at a vulnerable time, clearly, with the pandemic costing so many lives and causing so powerful pain,” Mayorkas stated. “And that individuals, criminals exploit our vulnerabilities for a rapid buck is something that we’re going to proceed to aggressively pursue.”

Mayorkas infamous that the preliminary leads on the investigation came from 3M, which reported that suspected faux masks were being purchased for successfully being-care workers and first responders.

“This collaboration has helped pause hundreds and hundreds of faux respirators from reaching frontline workers,” Kevin Rhodes, 3M Deputy Ordinary Counsel, stated in a statement. “We’re dedicated to combating the pandemic from all angles – manufacturing needed PPE, working to pause counterfeiting, and serving to be particular N95s win to where they are needed doubtlessly the most.”

DHS officials declined to identify where the raids came about, announcing that they cannot statement on an ongoing investigation. Criminal prices are forthcoming, they stated. DHS stated they’ve notified about 6,000 suspected victims of the fraud in no longer lower than 12 states, including hospitals, clinical facilities and others who can also fair have purchased clinical masks from what Mayorkas described as a “criminal mission.”