4 arrested in counterfeit merchandise sting

Ibrahima Conde

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Four people were arrested Wednesday after authorities conducted a sting that resulted in the confiscation of more than $246,000 in pirated DVDs and CDs, among other counterfeit merchandise.

The Secretary of State's office partnered with the Lexington County Sheriff's Department to execute the sting at the Metro Flea Market on Highway 1 in West Columbia. Law enforcement received complaints from customers who'd purchasted the inferior items.

Tracy Lechell Lomax-McBride, Ibrahima Conde, Issaka Dogo, and Edward Randy Turner were all arrested in connection with the distribution of the counterfeit items. Those items include nearly 6,300 DVDs and CDs, as well as coats, handbags, hats, jeans, scarves, shirts, shoes, shorts, and sweat suits. The fake name brands ranged from Air Jordan, Nike, and Ecko to Chanel, Coach, and Dolce & Gabbana.

The sale of counterfeit merchandise hurts manufacturers, retailers, the local economy, and consumers, said Secretary of State Mark Hammond. Consumers should question inappropriate pricing on known 'designer TM items, as well as where the items are being sold. Well-known designers do not intend for their goods to be sold in booths or from stalls.

The counterfeit items will remain in storage while law enforcement awaits a court order to destroy them.

For more information regarding trademark violations or to register a mark, contact Secretary of State Mark Hammond TMs office at (803) 734-2170.