WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – over 11 million counterfeit N95 masks intended to be used by front-line healthcare workers throughout the nation have been seized by Department of Homeland Security investigators.
DHS began investigating after a tip from manufacturer 3M.
Wednesday’s announcement included a raid done in an East Coast warehouse that netted more than one million counterfeit masks.
There are about 6,000 suspected victims of the fraud spanning 12 states.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said,”That we are at a vulnerable time, of course, with the pandemic costing so many lives and causing so much harm and that individuals, criminals exploit our vulnerability for a quick buck is something that we will continue to aggressively pursue.”
The operation, dubbed Operation Stolen Promise, has conducted multiple search warrants in five states coast-to-coast in the last two weeks and more actions are expected.
Since April 2020 over 1,800 shipments of fraudulent goods have been seized.