At first glance, the West Miami store called U.A. Exclusive sold generic clothes and perfumes. But in a secret back room was a fashion-lover’s dream: Row after row of Gucci purses, Prada shoes and Dolce & Gabana watches.
The staggering amount of merchandise would have been worth nearly $10 million — if any of it was real.
Miami-Dade Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of the store’s owner, Ulisis Valencia, who was charged with selling counterfeit goods out of the modest store on the 6400 block of Southwest Eighth Street.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Federal agents tipped off county police about the goods being sold from the back of the business.
Last week, a group of Miami-Dade police detectives visited the store and saw the door to the back room open, according to an arrest report. The inspection ended with drama.
One employee rushed to shut the door. Two customers suspected of trying to buy counterfeit goods took off running. Valencia’s stepmother even “attempted to take flight out of the rear door, but was detained by the detectives in the rear of the business,” according to a report by Miami-Dade Detective Michael Hufnagel.
Among the other brands found among the counterfeit goods: Burberry, Chanel, Christian Dior, Fendi and adidas.
“An audit and inventory of the merchandise impounded revealed the retail value to be in excess of 9.6 million dollars,” according to a Miami-Dade police statement.
Valencia, 26, has pleaded not guilty. His defense attorney did not return a call for comment.