Pakistani Businessman Extradited & Charged with Wholesale Counterfeit Drug Importation

After a 3-year effort to bring him to justice, Junaid Qadir has been indicted in Federal court on charges he illegally imported bulk counterfeit medications into the United States.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that a Karachi native has been extradited from Germany to face counterfeit drug charges in the United States. According to the DOJ, Junaid Qadir appeared in a Federal courtroom in Denver to face charges that he and his Pakistani business partners were acting as prescription drug wholesalers, and offering bulk counterfeit medications to U.S. fake drugs resellers.

The DOJ reports that Qadir was originally indicted in 2012 on counterfeit drug charges, and was charged with a superseding indictment in June 2015, after he travelled to Germany and was apprehended by authorities there. After fighting extradition, Qadir was finally brought to the United States and made his first appearance in Denver’s Federal Court in January of this year.

According to the DOJ, Qadir faces the following charges: “Introduction and Delivery for Introduction of Unapproved New Drugs into Interstate Commerce, Introduction and Delivery for Introduction of Misbranded Drugs into Interstate Commerce, Sale of Counterfeit Drugs, Importation of Schedule IV Controlled Substances, Distribution of Scheduled IV Controlled Substances, Importation of Merchandise Contrary to Law, Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S. and Commit Offenses Against the U.S., Conspiracy to Import Schedule IV Controlled Substances and Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Schedule IV Controlled Substances. Penalties for these offenses range from not more than 3 years in federal prison per count, to not more than 20 years in federal prison per count. Each count also carries a penalty of up to a $250,000 fine.”

The DOJ also reports that court documents describe Qadir and his brother as “principals of a family owned and operated business in Karachi, Pakistan known as JNS Impex. This company held itself out to be, among other things, a leading and long-standing exporter of branded and generic pharmaceutical drugs and surgical products. They wrongly claimed it had access to and could supply most brand name pharmaceutical products; that it was affiliated with many multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers; and that it was licensed to distribute and export over-the-counter, prescription and narcotic pharmaceutical drugs. At no time were they associated or registered with the DEA to import controlled substances into the U.S. or to distribute controlled substances in the United States.”

According to the Denver Post, “JNS Impex took orders online, mostly from people operating Internet pharmacies that would sell the drugs to customers who did not have prescriptions. The orders were filled by suppliers in Pakistan, India, the U.K. and China. Often they were shipped loose in plastic vitamin and water bottles, or mailed without packaging, patient safety information or other written instructions.”

U.S. Attorney John Walsh, as quoted by the DOJ, remarked that “This case should be a reminder to everyone that buying counterfeit prescription drugs online from overseas pharmacies is playing with fire. An online buyer of such drugs has no idea what drug or substance they are actually receiving.”

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth M. Harmon.

By S. Imber