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York police raid Toronto-area mall in counterfeit goods probe

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York Police raid Ontario mall in counterfeit-goods investigation
York Regional Police raided Pacific Mall in Markham on Wednesday as part of an investigation into counterfeit goods. – Jun 27, 2018

A Toronto-area mall was raided by police on Wednesday as part of a counterfeit goods investigation.

York Regional Police said they executed seven search warrants inside the Pacific Mall in Markham, and another at a home belonging to a mall kiosk operator.

A police spokesperson said officers seized a wide variety of goods, including clothing, handbags and cellphone accessories. Items, as well as a quantity of cash, were also seized from a Markham home.

READ MORE: Canadian mall one of world’s most notorious sources of counterfeit goods, U.S. report says

Charges haven’t been laid as of Wednesday afternoon. Police said further searches are expected to be carried out at storage lockers connected to the vendors.​

“The officers are going to look at everything they seize and evaluate all of the evidence they collect through this and evaluate what the next steps will be,” York Regional Police Const. Laura Nicolle said.

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As part of the investigation, items will be sent to manufacturers to determine their authenticity, police said.

WATCH: 7 stores at Pacific Mall raided by York Regional Police. Jamie Mauracher reports.

Click to play video: '7 stores at Pacific Mall raided by York Regional Police'
7 stores at Pacific Mall raided by York Regional Police

The investigation has been in the works since April. Nicolle said police received a large volume of complaints and concerns from the public about mall vendors allegedly selling counterfeit goods.

A U.S. government report released earlier this year labelled the mall as among the most notorious sources of pirated and counterfeit goods in the world.

The U.S. Office of the Trade Representative said in its annual review that sales of counterfeit goods at Pacific Mall are “sprawling and pervasive” and that vendors “operate largely with impunity (as) requests for assistance from local law enforcement have reportedly gone unanswered.”

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York Regional Police conduct raids at Pacific Mall in Markham, Ont., as part of a counterfeit goods investigation on June 27, 2018. Jeremy Cohn/Global News
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York Regional Police conduct raids at Pacific Mall in Markham, Ont., as part of a counterfeit goods investigation on June 27, 2018. Jeremy Cohn/Global News

READ MORE: Toronto police seize $2.5M of counterfeit goods in Project Lucky Chan probe

The counterfeit items available at the mall include cosmetics, sunglasses and perfumes, which they said can pose a risk to public health and safety.

A spokesperson for the mall told Global News in February that it had launched an internal investigation after the U.S. report was released. Private investigators have also been brought in to conduct internal audits.

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The RCMP and local police have, over the past two decades, seized counterfeit electronics, DVDs, video games and other goods, said to be worth millions of dollars, from Pacific Mall vendors.

York Regional Police are asking anyone with information pertaining to the Pacific Mall investigation to contact the York Regional Police Financial Crimes Unit or reach out to Crime Stoppers anonymously.

— With files from The Canadian Press and Jeremy Cohn

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