Thousands of Fake Pills Purchased From China Shipped To Man In New York State

Seized packages at a mail facility
Source: FDA Commissioner’s Twitter Post

According to the Democrat & Chronicle, a Rochester, New York man pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of smuggling counterfeit pills into the country. Court documents stated that a package mailed from China to Samuel McFarland via DHL was flagged by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for inspection on January 8, 2018. Inside the package shipped from the Guangdong Province in China, agents found 100 bottles that each contained 30 Cialis pills. The package’s manifest listed the contents as “free trade samples” valued at $1 each.

Testing revealed the pills to be counterfeit, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents confirmed that an additional 14 packages had been mailed from China to either McFarland or another person at the same address starting in January 2017. The only package not sent via the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) was the one seized on January 8, 2018. When CBP seized a package addressed to McFarland in April 2017, agents found over 3,000 counterfeit Viagra pills and 190 fake Cialis pills inside.

CBP informed McFarland the following month about the seizure and listed the five choices open to him:

  1. Petition for the return of the property
  2. Offer a compromise
  3. Abandon the property
  4. Request a hearing in court
  5. Have CBP begin administrative proceedings for forfeiture of the property

After McFarland failed to respond, CBP began the steps necessary to seize the shipment.

In a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), McFarland admitted to having ordered both of those packages during the execution of the search warrant on his residence on January 25, 2018. The DOJ credits the investigative work done by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, HSI, CBP, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations for making this plea deal happen. McFarland is scheduled to be sentenced on May 23, 2019. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.