Thursday, April 30, 2009

Need Fake Nikes? Try Someplace Else.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 10:36 AM

click to enlarge Frango's shop at 2623 Cherokee St. - PHOTO BY NICHOLAS PHILLIPS
  • Photo by Nicholas Phillips
  • Frango's shop at 2623 Cherokee St.
Life is never dull on Cherokee Street. In case you ain't heard:

The owner of West African Art -- a clothing shop on Cherokee and Texas Avenue -- was taken in by the feds this week after being indicted for hawking counterfeit goods.

(FYI: The shop sits directly across from a rather controversial city-owned lot, and just a couple blocks from this weekend's Cinco de Mayo festivities).

The arrest wasn't a complete shock to neighborhood residents and merchants. In late February, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided the joint, snapping pictures and carting off merchandise in a big semi. The shop was also raided about a year earlier.
According to the U.S. attorney's indictment, they'd been selling all kinds of stuff bearing the trademark of Nike and other companies.

The shop's owner is 51-year-old Passaro Frango of University City -- yet the U.S. Attorney's indictment does list other aliases: Franco Passaro, Mamandou Sow and Sow Mamandou. Let's call him Frango. He was also charged with selling counterfeit goods at his store, F & A Fashions, on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard in Wellston.

Frango was indicted last week, and arrested this week. He's looking at two counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, one count of smuggling, and one count of money laundering.

View a copy of the indictment here.

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