Deputies confiscate about $1 million in counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise, game tickets

HOUSTON – Federal and local police confiscated 20,000 to 30,000 pieces of pirated, Super Bowl merchandise and made 17 arrests in Houston over a four-day period.

Teams from Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen’s office, the Houston Police Department, and U.S. Homeland Security fanned out through the city beginning Thursday.

They confiscated counterfeit tickets, clothing, and souvenirs that estimated to have a street value of $1 million.

The NFL obtained a TRO earlier last week targeting shops and street dealers trafficking in unlicensed Super Bowl merchandise.

"The sad part about this is that the public has purchased some of these items. And they're inferior. They’re not the same quality. And they're really just garbage," Rosen said.

There were also 17 arrests, most for counterfeiting, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail.

“A lot of the organizations that are making money off this are often funding other illicit activities. Some of the people had other crimes in their past,” said Special Agent in Charge-Homeland Security Richard Haverson.

The NFL is seeking to recoup at least some of the money collected through illicit sales. The league has filed eight lawsuits in Harris County civil court against vendors who were selling the merchandise.