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Philadelphia Resident Admits Selling Over-The-Counter Counterfeit Drugs Containing Carcinogenic Solvents

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A Philadelphia resident pleaded guilty to an 18 count indictment for the illegal importation and distribution of four million fake diet pills that contained unapproved drugs and carcinogens.  The pills "caused significant side effects in some individuals, including nausea, vomiting, elevated blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes."

Who: Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.

When: December 17th, 2010; counterfeit drugs imported and sold by Ms. Treu from October 2008 through March 2010

Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA.

How: Sting operation conducted in concert by the ICE, HIS, FDA-OCI, and USPS.

In December, Mimi Trieu, 46, the owner of Hong Kong Beauty International, a Philadelphia-based business, pleaded guilty to importing and selling illegal diet pills that contained sibutramine, an oral anorexiant, as well as anti-seizure medication and carcinogenic chemical solvents from October 2008 to March 2010, announced the FDA. After the FDA issued a consumer warning that the pills were dangerous, she continued to import and sell them. The FDA’s alert said that the drugs could cause nausea, vomiting, elevated blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

Trieu was charged with conspiring to smuggle the diet pills from China through the mail, using packages with customs declarations that falsely described the capsules as gifts, worth minimal amounts. She also falsely advertised the illegal diet capsules as containing natural ingredients made in Japan without disclosing that the pills contained sibutramine and other dangerous ingredients.

The Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations investigated this case which is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Judy Goldstein Smith and Sarah L. Grieb.

Related sources:

"Philadelphia Woman Pleads Guilty to Importing Illegal Diet Pills," FDA-OCI Press Release. December 17th 2010.

Indictment of Mimi True on 18 criminal counts, US District Court for the eastern district of Pennsylvania. May 10, 2010

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