BALTIMORE - The only people checking out the discounted clothes at Patapsco Flea Market on Sunday is federal agents. Two-hundred officers blocked off the complex in Southwest Baltimore.
Chris Schell makes a habit of driving from the Eastern Shore. On Saturday, he bought what appears to be a Kangol hat.
"It's name brand. It's not the real thing but it looks like it,” said Schell. “I know from the tag, it's just a regular, no-name tag."
Many shoppers say they've bought the knock-offs for years.
"I have bought some American Eagle pants and the back stitching, the brown part of the pants, has been ripped the first day that I washed them," said Janaysha Walker, who shops frequently at Patapsco Flea Market.
Homeland Security agents believe the market is a rip off. They're going after items that may be counterfeit, pirated, and unlicensed, saying it's hurting American businesses and taking away jobs.
"When you're purchasing counterfeit merchandise, that money is eventually going to fund a criminal organization," said William Winter, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations.
Not one shopper we talked to is shocked.
"The shoes, they looked like they sewed it on there. And like the shirts, it will be like on the wrong side of the shirt, wrong stitching," said Deneisha McCray, a shopper.
The website says Patapsco Flea Market started 24 years ago. In that time, it has expanded to 300,000 square feet, and it's still growing. But a two-and-a-half year investigation may knock those plans off course.
"If you're a flea market and you got some fake stuff, you better pack it up and put your stuff away," said Walker.
As of Sunday night, no one at the flea market has been charged. A HSI spokesman says court documents will be made available on Monday, so more information is likely to surface.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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