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Illegal Drug Sellers Nabbed for Smuggling Bogus Cancer Drugs Into U.S.

FDA leads international crackdown (February 13)

Two individuals have been arraigned for charges that they, among other things, smuggled adulterated and misbranded prescription cancer treatments from Turkey and other countries into the U.S. and conspired to defraud the U.S. and the FDA. The drugs did not meet the FDA’s standards and had not been approved for distribution in the U.S.

The FDA led a joint international law-enforcement operation that culminated in the arrest of two Turkish citizens in Puerto Rico, after a grand jury sitting for the Eastern District of Missouri indicted the two men on January 16.

“This case shows that those who prey on innocent patients in the United States, even from outside our borders, are subject to criminal prosecution,” said John Roth, director of the Office of Criminal Investigations in the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs.

The indictment charges the two men with one conspiracy count and three counts of smuggling illegal drugs into the U.S. Each smuggling charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000.

According to the FDA, the defendants obtained the illicit drugs and then used shipping labels to conceal the illegal nature of the shipments, including customs declarations falsely describing the contents as “gifts,” “documents,” or “product samples” with no or low declared monetary values. They also broke large drug shipments into several smaller packages to reduce the likelihood of seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities.

Source: FDA; February 13, 2014.

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