Law enforcement raids flea market known for bootleg merchandise - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Law enforcement raids flea market known for bootleg merchandise

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Law enforcement agencies carried out a large raid Thursday afternoon at the flea market located in the 4200 block of Third Street in Memphis.

Backed by a line of reinforcements, SWAT teams raided the Third Street Flea Market in a swift and dramatic fashion.

Officials said agents with the FBI, ICE, Homeland Security, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office and Memphis Police Department, executed search and seizure warrants at the flea market and three other locations

As the raid progressed on Third Street, hundreds of people at the market were handcuffed and placed a paddy wagon to be processed.

From across the street, bystanders looked on with pleasure.

"They sell too much bootleg stuff down there," Clifford Norris said.

The flea market is known locally for its reputation as a place to purchase bootleg or imitation products. Much of the merchandise sold at the flea market eventually hit a secondary market for resale.

On February 14th, Angel's Nails in Memphis was busted for selling fake purses. At the time, the store's owner said her daughter bought them from the flea market.

Thursday, officials said state and federal investigators, including the Postal Inspector, have been building a case on the flea market for months.  While it's unknown exactly how far and wide that case reaches, experts argue, in general, that counterfeiting often funds terrorist organizations.

Regardless, those curious enough to stop greeted the raid and subsequent shutdown with favor.

"I'm pleased to see them doing what their doing," Clifford Norris said.

Officials have been tight-lipped about the raid, and the total number of arrests made have not been released.

The flea market is located on the site of an closed drive-in movie theater.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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