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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Seizes $158,000 Worth of Counterfeit Guitars

It'll be awhile before these 36 guitars see any playing time
(Image credit: CBP.gov)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced (opens in new tab) yesterday that it has seized 36 counterfeit guitars that, if authentic, would have had a cumulative value of $158,692.

The motley crew of instruments – which included 27 Gibson, six Fender, two Martin, and one Paul Reed Smith guitars – arrived in 36 different shipments from China, all on December 15. 

Destined for addresses in 21 different states and Australia, the collection was comprised primarily of counterfeit upscale Gibsons – among them a Slash-autographed model, a Jimmy Page double-neck, and an Ace Frehley Les Paul which, if genuine, would have been valued at $9,000.

Suspecting counterfeits, the CBP detained (opens in new tab) the guitars upon their arrival, confirming over the following weeks – after conferring with the brands in question – that the guitars were indeed forgeries. 

“Transnational criminal organizations will counterfeit anything that generates illicit revenues, and unscrupulous vendors line their pockets by preying on unsuspecting consumers," Keith Fleming, the CBP’s Acting Director of Field Operations in Baltimore, said.

“Protecting intellectual property rights is a Customs and Border Protection trade enforcement priority, and CBP officers will continue to seize counterfeit and potentially unsafe consumer goods when we encounter them.”

Jackson Maxwell
Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.