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Phony Covid-19 test kits seized by federal agents in Indianapolis

4,650 kits found since middle of March
Posted at 3:08 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 15:08:54-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Federal agents have seized more than 4,600 phony COVID-19 test kits in Indianapolis.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP), officers made two seizures at the FedEx Indianapolis Express Consignment Operations hub at Indianapolis International Airport. Investigators discovered numerous plastic bags with 4,650 COVID-19 test kits.

The CBP, in a press release Friday, said officers have seen an increase in unapproved or counterfeit COVID-19 test kits being shipped through the mail system.

In Indianapolis, packages labeled “COVID-19 Rapid Test Device," were seized. The test kits are not approved for use in the United States and were turned over to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Similar large-scale seizures were made in Chicago, Louisville and Cincinnati.

“Protecting the health of the American people is one of the main priorities for CBP,” said James Moore, Port Director, Indianapolis. “This is a big seizure at this time when we are in the midst of a pandemic. This shows our CBP officers’ commitment to keep dangerous goods out of the U.S. and ensure they are not a threat to our citizens.”

Moore says criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic for illegal financial gain. They smuggle and sell counterfeit safety equipment, unapproved testing kits, medicines, and hygiene products to individuals. The public should be aware of bogus home testing kits for sale either online or in informal-direct-to-consumer settings and the dangers that they may pose if not administered by doctors.

At Chicago O’Hare’s International Mail Facility, which processes 20% of all the international mail coming into the United States, CBP has seized 11 shipments containing 1,147 prohibited test kits. The value of these kits is $10,847, and most of the kits seized came from Great Britain.