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Federal agents in Northwest Arkansas to crack down on counterfeit Halloween products

by Nathan Owens | October 11, 2019 at 12:05 p.m.
Eric Cardiel (left), supervisory special agent, and Nick Nelson, assistant special agent in charge, announce at the Homeland Security Investigations Fayetteville office an anti-counterfeiting law enforcement operation Friday, October 11, 2019 taking place in Northwest Arkansas. The large-scale law enforcement operation is targeting counterfeit products including contact lenses, makeup and other cosmetics that are likely to be worn for Halloween. Counterfeits often contain bacteria, heavy metals, or other toxins that pose a health and safety hazard.

FAYETTEVILLE — Homeland Security Investigations officials on Friday said they plan to comb through stores and remove counterfeit products, with an emphasis on decorative contact lenses, makeup and other cosmetics sold for Halloween.

Federal agents in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana will be looking into violations that include “counterfeit merchandise and other things of that nature,” said Nick Nelson, assistant special agent in charge of the Fayetteville HSI division.

“What that is going to mean for the Fayetteville area — we are going to be aggressively looking for intellectual property rights crimes, counterfeit crimes and with that, in particular with the Halloween season coming up, we are focusing on health and safety concerns,” Nelson said at a morning news conference.

Examples include seasonal makeup and decorative contact lenses that may contain harmful bacteria, toxins or lead. Anything they find will be presented to the U.S. attorney’s office for prosecution, Nelson said.

“Obviously we don’t want anyone putting that on their skin and damaging their skin, so we are going to do our best to remove that type of stuff from the market,” he said.

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