08/17/2012 10:36 EDT | Updated 10/17/2012 05:12 EDT

Counterfeit shoes seized in U.S. could have fetched $18M

Customs agents in Los Angeles have seized about 20,000 pairs of counterfeit luxury shoes they say could have generated $18 million in sales.

The shoes, bearing the trademark red sole that Christian Louboutin originals are known for, were shipped from China, according to officials at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex.

Four shipments were seized on Tuesday, while another shipment was seized July 27, says U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman Jaime Ruiz.

Customs agent Elizabeth Ortega told Reuters the French designer's high-end pumps, which are made in Italy, sell for as much as $1,200 a pair.

The agency says the 20,000 knock-offs collectively are worth a total of no more than $57,000, based on a manufacturing cost of just under $3 a pair.

It's believed the counterfeit shoes were to be sold mostly to online buyers. Now, they're expected to be destroyed.