Chinese federal authorities have shut down a major manufacturer and international distributor of counterfeit Juul devices and pods, Juul Labs announced.
Following a lengthy investigation last year by Juul Labs’ brand protection team into counterfeit operations in the region, the company identified Shenzhen Kang Erqiang Electronic Technology Co. as a large player in the illicit global trade of counterfeit Juul products.
Chinese law enforcement subsequently seized 14,600 units of counterfeit Juul products, including counterfeit pods, devices, and packaging. A computer was also seized, which provided authorities with critical information regarding when the illicit operation was launched as well as a rough estimate of counterfeit sales.
Authorities determined that the counterfeit operation began sometime in 2018, and over a 16-month period, sold roughly $324,000 worth of counterfeit Juul products. The factory operator confessed to his involvement and was sentenced to three years and four months in prison, along with a fine equivalent to $163,487.
In a statement, Juul said it would continue to fight illegal sales of its products. “These black-market products present additional health and safety risks to adult consumers given that they often are produced in unsanitary conditions without manufacturing and quality controls and lack ingredient testing and product characterization. They also may contain harmful chemicals not present in other, authentic products. Furthermore, sales of counterfeit vapor products undermine underage-prevention measures through ease of access.”