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Authorities Seized Counterfeit Viagra at South El Monte

A 37-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of selling and distributing counterfeit merchandise.

Nearly 30,000 cartons of counterfeit cigarettes worth $1.8 million and more than 4,000 counterfeit Viagra pills worth $100,000 were found at storage units in the 1700 block of Eastern Avenue in East Los Angeles and the 1100 block of Peck Road in South El Monte, said sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker.

A 37-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of selling and distributing counterfeit merchandise after investigators served a series of search warrants and seized counterfeit cigarettes and Viagra worth nearly $2 million, the sheriff's captain said.

Investigators also found fake tax stamps from California, Arizona, Minnesota, New York and New Jersey, Parker said.

The forged tax stamps would have allowed the suspects to cheat California out of $260,000 in state taxes and the federal government out of $300,000, Parker said.

During a search of the suspects' residence in the 9400 block of Ralph Street in Rosemead investigators found nearly $110,000 in cash hidden inside, Parker said.

The suspects' names were not immediately released.

The arrests followed a more than yearlong investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Counterfeit and Anti-Piracy Enforcement Team, along with agents from U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the state Board of Equalization and FBI, said Parker.

Private investigators from tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. also assisted in the investigation, he said.

The investigation is ongoing and federal charges are possible if it is determined the cigarettes were smuggled into the country, Parker said.

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