Because when you gotta catch ’em all, you ‘gotta catch the knockoffs too.

Here’s a question for all you Pokémon fans: Where’s the best place to catch for Pocket Monsters? Those of you with a soft spot for the Gen-1 species are probably saying the Kanto region, but Alola has some of the most unique breeds thanks to its tropical climate, and Galar allows you to catch new species exclusive to the latest Sword and Shield arc of the franchise.

But if you’re looking for Pokémon quantity, and especially if you’re not too concerned with Pokémon quality, the place to be this month was Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as customs agents in the eastern U.S. city captured 86,400 Pokémon (in plastic figure form), a number of which are pictured here.

While a catch of that size would ordinarily suggest an earnest quest to become true Pokémon Masters, in this case the officials weren’t trying to fill out their Pokédexes. Instead, the Pokémon were seized because they were counterfeits.

▼ Surprised Meme Pikachu, Hot Pink Clefairy, and Extra-Angry Flareon seem to be among the captured breeds.

The bootleg Pokémon were packaged in 15 boxes being sent from Hong Kong to an address elsewhere in Pennsylvania, with the containers claiming they contained “plastic furnishing articles.” That ruse didn’t hold up when the boxes were inspected after coming into the country on May 4, though, and the size of the shipment suggests the figures weren’t going to a single super fan for his personal use, but were intended for resale by the intended Pennsylvania recipient.

U.S. Customs and Border Control appraisers estimated the total value of the shipment to be US$603,936, which works out to roughly US$7 per figure. That seems like a pretty high price for what most true Pokémon fans should be able to recognize as a cheap knockoff pretty easily, but with Pokémon being massively popular with little kids, a lot of merchandise for the franchise is bought as presents by parents and grandparents who aren’t fans themselves.

In addition, customs officials deemed the figures to be choking hazards for young children, and also expressed concern that as unlicensed, and ostensibly untested, products, the toys might be covered in paint with dangerous levels of lead. So remember, accept no imitation Pokémon, with the exception of the imitation Pokémon, Ditto, of course.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Anime News Network/Kim Morrissy
Images: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he wonders whatever happened to his knockoff Voltron from the Chino swap meet.