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The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday, February 17, announced the seizure of more than 11 million counterfeit N95 respirator masks before they reached hospital staff and other frontline workers.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said the seizures were made over several weeks as part of an investigation into a criminal enterprise in which masks mimicking those manufactured by 3M were sold to hospitals, government agencies, and medical facilities in at least five states. He added that 1 million counterfeit masks had been seized in a raid that morning. The fake masks originated in China, Mayorkas said.
The raids were carried out by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which the DHS describes as its “principal investigative arm” tasked with “investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move.”
Officials did not provide the names of the states affected, or the company involved, due to the active investigation. Credit: Dept of Homeland Security via Storyful