Pair that were arrested in London in October 2012 for operating a fake online pharmacy that sold to U.S. consumers plead guilty and are sentenced.

Pakistani fake online pharmacy entrepreneurs Sheikh Waseem Ul Haq and Tahir Saeed have been sentenced to time served after pleading guilty to 48 counts, including “conspiracy to import Schedule II, III and IV controlled substance pharmaceuticals into the United States; conspiracy to distribute Schedule II, III and IV controlled substance pharmaceuticals; conspiracy to introduce misbranded pharmaceuticals into interstate commerce; importation and distribution of controlled substance pharmaceuticals; introduction into interstate commerce of misbranded drugs and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. Saeed pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import Schedule II, III and IV controlled substance pharmaceuticals into the United States; conspiracy to introduce misbranded pharmaceuticals into interstate commerce and conspiracy to commit international money laundering,” the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports.

According to the FDA, Ul Haq and Saeed ran two different companies, Waseem Enterprises and Harry’s Enterprises. Both were clandestine pharmaceutical wholesalers that also sold medication to individuals via fake online pharmacy websites.

Ul Haq and Saeed were originally arrested in London in October 2012, and extradited to the United States in May 2013. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the pair started selling misbranded medication to unwitting consumers in late 2005, offering a wide variety of steroids, painkillers, and other prescription medication.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division was quoted by the FDA saying, “This prosecution demonstrates how the use of the Internet to distribute drugs illegally is a major threat to consumers. These defendants operated their Internet marketing scheme from Pakistan and were able to ship drugs illegally and directly to U.S. citizens. We will enforce the law to protect consumers from adulterated, contaminated and counterfeit drugs and assure that only medically necessary drugs are dispensed by licensed pharmacists who are filling legitimately issued prescriptions by licensed physicians.”

The DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force sponsored and supported this investigation, which was also investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Additional assistance was provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, the London Metropolitan Police Service, INTERPOL, and law enforcement agents in Germany. Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. Dominguez of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and and Senior Litigation Counsel Linda I. Marks of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch prosecuted the case.

By S. Imber