Counterfeit Vaping

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Police: $4M Counterfeit Vaping Operation Busted On Long Island

August 02, 2019 - 4:01 pm

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Police say a father and two sons have been busted for allegedly operating a multi-million dollar counterfeit vaping business on Long Island.

Ali Asghar, 58, and his two sons, also named Ali, were arrested for bringing counterfeit vaping products into the U.S. from China and then selling the items in their local card shops in Nassau and Suffolk counties and online.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said it's difficult to tell the counterfeit and legitimate products apart.

"We know that there are health concerns with vaping, even legitimate vaping it can be dangerous for your health, there are serious issues with it. With this stuff you don't know where it was made, you don't know what is in it. The other thing about this illicit market is that it's ripping off tax payers. The guys who make this and sell this don't have to pay taxes on it," Curran said.

Authorities say in the past two years the operation netted $4 million.

"It just seems like the stakes are so much higher now, the doses of these cartridges are one puff equals one cigarette," Curran said. "When they're coming in illegally you don't know what the heck is in here, you don't know what kind of poison you're putting into your body."

The suspects are charged with trademark counterfeiting.