One of the storage units seized by authorities in one of the 'largest ever seizure of counterfeit goods in US history,' according to officials

New York (AFP) - Anyone who walks the streets of Manhattan can observe sidewalk vendors hawking counterfeit luxury products.

It’s big business, really big.

Just how big became clear Wednesday when prosecutors announced the “largest ever seizure of counterfeit goods in US history” – a massive haul of about 219,000 fake handbags, shoes, clothing and other items.

“The seizures announced today consist of merchandise with over $1 billion in estimated retail value, the largest-ever seizure of counterfeit goods in US history,” federal prosecutor Damian Williams said.

Counterfeit goods commonly have a value far lower than their real counterparts.

Two men were charged with trafficking in the counterfeit goods.

Photos released by the US Attorney’s Office for the southern district of New York showed warehouse rooms jammed with fake designer purses, handbags, shoes and clothing.

One photo showed boxes of goods stacked on shipping pallets.

From January through the end of October, the two defendants, Adama Sow, 38, and Abdulai Jalloh, 48, allegedly ran a large-scale knockoff goods ring out of storage facilities in Manhattan, authorities said.

Both men were arrested on Wednesday, a statement said.

“The trafficking of counterfeit goods is anything but a victimless crime because it harms legitimate businesses, governments, and consumers,” New York Police Commissioner Edward Caban said.