A Laguna Niguel home was searched Thursday morning by government officials probing the possible illegal import and sale of counterfeit hairstyling devices, specifically hot styling irons.
Virginia Kice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Western regional communications director, confirmed that Homeland Security agents were on the scene at 29512 Pelican Way.
According to the affidavit filed in support of Thursday's state search warrants, agents were looking for evidence related to the trafficking of counterfeit goods.
Kice declined to comment specifically on this case because the investigation is ongoing, but underscored that Homeland Security agents encounter all kinds of counterfeit products which are pirated from overseas -- “illegal goods that are brought into this country and cross borders.”
“You wouldn't believe some of the items,” Kice said. “It runs the gamut from pharmaceuticals and motor oil to designer clothing and car airbags. When it comes to counterfeit goods, the expression ‘buyer beware’ has never been more true.
"Part of what you’re paying for when you buy established brands is quality control. When you purchase counterfeits, you can easily get something you hadn’t bargained for, something that could pose a health or safety risk.”
The search warrant was issued by the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
“The D.A. and ICE are investigating this case together," said D.A. spokeswoman Farrah Emami. “There are no defendants charged at this time and we don’t discuss anything associated with the case until the investigation is complete.”
Also on hand were a number of Orange County sheriff's deputies.
“Typically, when it’s a federal case and they come into a jurisdiction, they call the local authorities. We are just there as a courtesy,” said Sheriff's Department spokesperson Jim Amormino. “We are an assisting outside agency, but have no part in the investigation.”