Three Ohio men were charged with prohibiting commerce through counterfeit goods or services after a controlled buy sting operation conducted by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at the Apple Festival Saturday.

The citations said that, after conducting surveillance on three vendors set up and selling purses and handbags at the Kentucky Apple Festival this past weekend, they sent undercover deputies to make controlled buys from the vendors. According to the citation, all the vendors, including Dialo Abov and Omar Diop, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Mamadou Seye, 61, of Canal Winchester, Ohio, all claimed the merchandise was authentic during the sales.

Police said that wasn’t the case, as all of the items purchased were confirmed to be counterfeit by an “independent source.”

The citation said that the vendors occupied three tables, one of which had 245 counterfeit purses and handbags, while the second table had 156 and the third had 184. All of the approximately 585 handbags were seized as evidence, according to the citation, and Diop, Abov and Seye will each face a charge of first-offense prohibiting commerce through counterfeit goods and/or services (more than 25 items) when they are scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 28 to be arraigned.

Johnson County Sheriff Doug Saylor said his office will investigate and act accordingly to any crime it suspects is occurring in the county and that this sort of a seizure can be used to help fight the ongoing drug epidemic in Johnson County.

“Initially and at first glance, you know, it is an illegal act, and in this case, just so happens to be a felony,” Saylor said. “In the bigger picture, these types of seizures help us fight the drug epidemic in our area, as any funds awarded to us from these forfeitures go directly into a highly restricted drug forfeiture account and can only be used for the purpose of fighting the drug problem in our county.”

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