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Counterfeit merchandise destroyed by state officials

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 7/25/2013 10:17 pm
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - The attorney general is making good on his promise to crack down on counterfeit goods in the state.

Most recently, a Chickasaw County couple has pleaded guilty to sale and possession with intent to sell goods bearing counterfeit labels or trademarks.

Attorney General Jim Hood, assisted by the Okolona Police Department and Chickasaw County Sheriff's Office, confiscated the goods from an Okolona thrift shop, Urban Wear, following a sting operation.

The approximate retail value of the goods seized during the investigation totals $750,000, according the Attorney General's Office.

Most of the seized goods were clothing items.

"We were really shocked at the amount of stuff that he was selling," said Chickasaw County Chief Deputy James Meyers.

Willie McMillian and Sarah Hill McMillian both pleaded guilty on July 18 in the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial District of Chickasaw County. The couple sold a high volume of counterfeit goods bearing the Louis Vuitton and The North Face labels.

Hood said this crime causes a lot more problems than many people think.

"I remember a young lady from Lee County bought a counterfeit contact lens off her eye," Hood said. "It just created dangers, especially counterfeit pharmaceuticals."

All of the contraband seized during the operation was disposed at the Tupelo Recycling Center. 

"We'd like to give these item to the poor," Hood explained. "They're clothes and shoes, and things like that need to be [donated], but they're contraband. "They can't by law, so we have to destroy them."

Chickasaw County and Okolona police officers who helped with the operation said this case should teach potential and future offenders.

"We just want it to be a warning," Chief Deputy Meyers said. "If you want to circumvent the system, we're gonna catch you."

"We got the mission accomplished," said Okolona Police Department Chief Willie Moore Jr. "Furthermore, maybe this will be a lesson to the rest of them. If you do it, you're gonna get caught."

Both the Okolona and Chickasaw County departments were awarded a check of $4,867.53 for assisting with the case, which came from the nearly $20,000 seized during the operation.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office received a certificate of participation for their assistance via the North Mississippi Narcotics Unit.

During the attorney general's two year investigation, the McMillian's were arrested and indicted twice for selling counterfeit goods.

Willie McMillian was sentenced to five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with one year suspension. He must also pay restitution to cover investigative costs.

Sarah Hill McMillian was also sentenced to five year, with five years suspension.

The case is an ongoing effort of the Attorney General's, known as Operation Knock Out Knock Offs, which established the statewide Intellectual Property Theft Task Force consisting of federal, state and local authorities, according to Public Information Officer Jan Schaefer.
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