NORMAN — On the first Sooner home football game each year, OU investigators and law enforcement officers are on the lookout for unlicensed merchandise. Manufacturers who use the university’s trademarked logo without paying royalties have an unfair advantage over those who play by the rules.
The same happens, only on a larger scale, for the NFL’s Super Bowl. The Associated Press reports more than $13.6 million worth of phony sports merchandise has been seized over the last five months.
Investigators expect to seize even more in New Orleans today. Federal agents have shut down more than 300 websites that sell counterfeit goods.
It’s all part of Operation Red Zone which targets intenational shipments of jerseys, hats and other souvenirs.
They generate lots of cash and are mostly sold on the streets, in flea markets and some local stores. Local drug cartels are even in on the business, according to a federal agent interviewed by the Associated Press.