Local flea market raided, counterfeit goods seized

Staff reports
Ascension Parish deputies arrested seven people after a counterfeit merchandise sting operation at the Greater Baton Rouge Flea Market in Prairieville.

Seven people were arrested after a counterfeit merchandise sting operation this month at the Greater Baton Rouge Flea Market in Prairieiville, Ascension Parish Chief Criminal Deputy Tony Bacala reported Friday.

Bacala said 11 booths at the market had displayed for public sale numerous counterfeit items, including purses, wallets, apparel and clothing.

The raid was the second counterfeit operation broken up in Ascension Parish in less than four months.

In early December, the Sheriff’s Office seized counterfeit shoes and clothing from three Donaldsonville stores that catered to the urban tastes of young customers.

The Donaldsonville sting began when the Sheriff’s Office was placed on alert by Nike Corporation after its corporate security department grew suspicious of the authenticity of products in the stores.

The Airline Highway flea market operation started in early March when the Sheriff’s Office received a complaint from a man who alleged that he purchased several pairs of Nike shoes believed to be authentic that he later discovered were phonies.

Bacala said detectives went undercover at the popular parish market and purchased several pairs of Nike tennis shoes that were later declared counterfeit by the Nike Corporation.

Sheriff’s investigators and a counterfeit expert then descended on the flea market March 21 and discovered the 11 suspected counterfeit booths.

Items seized for evidence at the time included brands such as Nike, Ed Hardy, Coach, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, Apple Bottoms, NFL, NBA and MLB, according to Bacala.

The following persons were arrested and charged with illegal use of counterfeit trademark on March 25:

• Obinson Nzekwe, 47, of 37079 Kathleen Ave., Prairieville.

• Amir Ali, 38, of 15059 Ridgewood Ave., Prairieville.

Arrested on the same charges on March 26 were:

• Ida Godfrey, 60, of 11550 Southfork Ave., Baton Rouge.

• Alice Bink, 60, of 8712 Norfolk Drive, Baton Rouge.

• Catina Tsiotsoua, 36, of 1422 Cedar Point Ave., Baton Rouge

Arrested and charged on March 27 were:

• Glenn Nicholas, 53, of 151 Nicholas St., Hahnville

• Ima C. Hawthorne, 50, 1590 Copurt St., Lot 50, Port Allen.

All of the suspects have bonded out of jail on a $5,000 bond.

Amir Ali