Woman Charged with Smuggling Counterfeit Drug into the U.S.

A 47-year-old Houston woman appeared in federal court in June 2017 to face charges for allegedly smuggling a counterfeit drug into the U.S. and trafficking it through her weight loss and nutrition store located in a west Houston strip mall. Carolina Aguilar Rodriguez, known to her customers as “Doctora,” is not a licensed pharmacist in the state of Texas and her business, Naturavida, is also not licensed to dispense prescription medication.

According to the criminal complaint, Ms. Rodriguez is alleged to have smuggled the counterfeit corticosteroid known as Diprospan into the U.S. from El Salvador. Diprospan is neither approved for use or sale and is not manufactured in the U.S. Prosecutors say that Rodriguez sold the counterfeit Diprospan to undercover federal agents on at least five occasions between January and June 2017. She is also alleged to have made a deal to sell 100 vials of Diprospan to a federal agent in May. Despite accepting a $1,200 deposit, the complaint alleges that Rodriguez pulled out of the deal after the police raided another supplier.

Carolina Aguilar Rodriguez is charged with smuggling goods into the U.S., trafficking in counterfeit goods and introducing misbranded drugs into commerce. This investigation was a joint effort between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Houston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.