U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents were operating near Long Beach’s shore Sunday to conduct “enforcement operations for counterfeit merchandise” related to the Super Bowl, according to ICE spokeswoman Britney Walker.
Aside from its immigration enforcement and removal operations, which are more widely known, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations probes transnational crime and threats. Some examples include counterfeiting merchandise, human trafficking and child pornography, Walker said.
Walker said ICE agents were stationed throughout Los Angeles metropolitan area, including Junipero Beach in Long Beach.
“ICE’s operations related to Long Beach are solely Super Bowl specific,” Walker said. “It has nothing to do with immigration enforcement or anything like that.”
At least two ICE vehicles were by Junipero Beach but no one had been detained, according to Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition rapid response coordinator Victoria Aguilera, who spoke with witnesses at Junipero Avenue and Ocean Boulevard.
Walker said that the agency’s Super Bowl-related operations have been in effect since Thursday and will continue until about Tuesday.
As of Thursday, ICE and other enforcement agencies announced that more than 267,511 counterfeit sports-related items, worth an estimated $97.8 million, were seized during Operation Team Player, a year-round effort developed to crack down on the illegal importation of counterfeit sports apparel and entertainment merchandise.