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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Federal agents and local police raided 28 convenience stores throughout Syracuse Friday looking for counterfeit CDs, videotapes and DVDs.
No one was charged in the morning raids, in which dozens of officers armed with warrants searched for the counterfeit materials, drug paraphernalia and records of their purchase, sale and manufacture, according to The The Syracuse (N.Y.) Post-Standard.
Officers handcuffed some people during the raids, including deliverymen who happened to be at one store, according to those deliverymen. U.S. Attorney Glenn Suddaby said police sometimes must take the precaution of handcuffing people during raids for the officers' own safety.
Suddaby refused to release a list of the stores because, he said, some of them might turn out to be innocent. Prosecutors had to submit enough evidence to U.S. Magistrate David Peebles to show crimes were likely being committed and that the search warrants were justified. The raids were part of an ongoing federal investigation, Suddaby said. The Syracuse Police Department had been looking into criminal activity inside and outside the markets for a while, he said.
"We felt it was appropriate based on the information they had to go ahead and seek the search warrants to see if the problem goes beyond what they're seeing," Suddaby said. He would not disclose what other crimes investigators were looking into.
"The old idea of a mom-and-pop store was a benefit to a neighborhood, whereas what's going on here, at least from the allegations so far, is that these particular establishments may be a detriment to the neighborhood," Suddaby said. The sales of drug paraphernalia in the stores draws drug dealers outside, he said.
Investigators will try to determine where the counterfeit CDs, DVDs and other merchandise were made, who made them and where they came from, the report said. The maximum penalty for dealing in such counterfeit material is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.