Officials in the US have broken up two smuggling rings, and seized counterfeit apparel and footwear worth $325m, which was set to be illegally imported into the country.

Some 29 people were charged under the operations, which involved smuggling goods through the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal.

The first seizure included more than 135 containers of mainly Coach, Louis Vuitton and other handbags as well as Ugg boots, Nike sneakers and clothing and had an estimated retail value of more than $300m, the New Jersey District Attorney's office said on Friday (2 March).

It also discovered a further 35 containers of goods with a retail value of over $25m, including counterfeit Nike sneakers, Ugg boots, Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Gucci handbags and cigarettes.

"The cost of counterfeit goods is not limited to massive financial harm to American businesses and consumers," said US Attorney Paul Fishman. "Criminals can exploit the same channels to import other material that threatens our health and safety."