Argentinean customs have revealed they seized at least 250 fake Lionel Messi Inter Miami jerseys with one caught smuggling 50 into the South American country.
A case of an Argentine citizen flying into Buenos Aires’ Jorge Newbury Airport on a LATAM flight from Santiago, Chile, was described as ‘iconic’ by The General Customs Bureau (Dirección General de Aduanas, DGA), according to The Buenos Aires Times.
Officers opened the woman’s luggage to find ‘a staggering 50 Inter Miami Messi jersey, all labelled and in their plastic wrapping’ after she was asked by authorities if she had anything to declare.
She said that she wasn’t in possession of any illegal goods, but the scanner proved otherwise.
The report said counterfeit specialists were then asked to check the authentication of the jerseys, and after cheecking they concluded that they were fake, which makes them prohibited goods.
‘It’s allowed to bring clothing into the country within the so-called simplified regime, but the cases detected over the last week have a volume that leads us to assume that it is being entered for profit’, shared Argentinean authorities to The BA Times.
Customs then disclosed that, since Messi’s new club jersey is not yet officially for sale in Argentina and the counterfeits were similarly designed to the originals, the woman’s intention was ‘likely to sell them as authentic and profit unlawfully from the passion generated by the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner in his homeland’.
Officers also specified that the woman wasn’t only trying to enter the jerseys illegally into the country, as 2,000 Pokémon cards, three tablets of an unknown substance, 100 packs of protein, and several boxes of muscle supplements were all found in her luggage too.
‘It was all seized by Customs under Articles 977 and 978 of the Customs Code, since taking into account the number and variety of products, we can assume they were being imported with intent to sell them’, an official press release from Argentinean Customs reported.
Lionel Messi marked his Inter Miami debut with a stunning free-kick into the top left-hand corner in stoppage time of a 2-1 win against Cruz Azul, of La Liga MX, in the Leagues Cup last night
The 2022 World Cup winner is expected to make his MLS debut in August.