Over 1.7M counterfeit N95 masks seized from Queens warehouse

Credit: Queens County District Attorney's Office

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Thursday that an investigation had resulted in the seizure of over 1.7 million counterfeit 3M N95 respirator masks from a warehouse in Long Island City.

Officers raided the warehouse and found pallets piled high with boxes of 3M-labeled N95 respirator masks, Katz said in a news release.

"We are living in a horrible pandemic with more than 450,000 Americans dead from Covid-19. This defendant allegedly sold false hope and security and was set to sell more of these counterfeit masks to whomever would pay his price," Katz said. "We have confiscated the bogus merchandise and none of these unsafe masks will be distributed to the public or healthcare workers going forward."

The masks were discovered along with hundreds of thousands of pieces of other types of PPE that authorities are working to determine the authenticity of.

An attorney for Zheng said he had no comment.

Prosecutors said the bogus masks were being offered for sale at prices ranging from $2.95 to $3.25 apiece. According to 3M, the suggested retail price for a legitimate N95 mask is $1.27.

Investigators say that they found a healthcare system in the Southern U.S. that bought 200,000 of the masks from the same warehouse for over $700,000.

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