BERLIN — Three Virginia men were arrested on counterfeit merchandize charges last week after police discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of knock-off products in their van during a routine traffic stop in Berlin.
Around 9:45 p.m. on Monday, a Maryland State Police trooper pulled over a Chevy passenger van on southbound Route 113 near Route 50 for negligent driving and speeding. After approaching the van, the trooper observed a significant amount of cargo in the rear of the vehicle. The trooper also detected numerous criminal indicators that led him to believe criminal activity was afoot.
The trooper requested the assistance of a Berlin Police K-9 unit, which conducted a scan of the vehicle resulting in a positive alert. A probable cause search was conducted, revealing all of the seats had been removed and the van’s cargo area was filled with miscellaneous counterfeit merchandise including Gucci purses, Prada purses, Coach purses, Ugg boots, and other counterfeit goods from Louis Vuitton, Rocawear, Dolce & Gabbana and others.
The State Police contacted Richard Logue, a recognized trademark expert in the state of Maryland, who assisted in identifying the counterfeit merchandise. The total value of all of the counterfeit merchandise is estimated at $167,000.
Each of the three occupants of the van, Derrick Towe, 40, Dwayne Mitchell, 46, and Ronald Brittingham, 45, all from the Virginia Beach area, were arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute merchandise bearing a counterfeit trademark valued at over $1,000, which is a felony in Maryland.
The three suspects were taken before a District Court Commissioner and each was ordered to be held on a $250,000 secured bond.