Police raid flea market in Bessemer (Update: $425,000 worth of goods seized)

Federal agents raided a flea market in Bessemer Saturday afternoon. The raid{}happened at the Bessemer Flea Market, located at 8th Avenue North in Bessemer. According to ICE spokesman Bryan Cox, approximately thirty-five vendors at the market are being investigated for selling counterfeit goods. The items{}were loaded into 18-wheelers. Traffic near the flea market{}was backed up for a short period of time. The flea market itself{}was still open to shoppers.

Bryan Cox with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement says "We're seizing the items that have been identified as counterfeit. Those will be taken in as evidence and then the federal investigation continues and then any decision as far as federal or state prosecution will be made at a later date."

No one was available to talk on behalf of the Bessemer Flea Market. As of now, no arrests have been made, but information was seized.{} Officers are still gathering a total as to how much was confiscated.

Update 6:55 p.m.

The Public Affairs office for the Department of Homeland Security released a statement regarding today's raid:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized 3,500 counterfeit items from 35 vendors at a Bessemer, Ala. flea market Saturday worth a total manufacturer's suggested retail price of $425,000. The seized items include counterfeit designer clothing, counterfeit CDs/DVDs, and counterfeit sportswear.

"Counterfeit products cost law-abiding Americans their jobs by depriving legitimate companies of sales they would otherwise make," said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer. "This is a problem that affects everyone. Criminals who sell counterfeit products don't pay taxes that go to supporting healthcare, paving roads and providing other vital government services. They are parasites on the legitimate businesses that drive our economy."

Parmer oversees a five-state area of responsibility including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.