On August 21, LA City Attorney Mike Feuer announced two separate cases had resulted in charges. In the first, criminal charges have been filed against eight people for allegedly importing more than 100,000 units of non-FDA approved pharmaceuticals, and selling them in the local area on the street in front of local businesses. In a second case, Feuer’s office seized a website offering illegal, misbranded, and counterfeit medications for sale online.
Feuer announced that counterfeit and misbranded drug charges were filed against Gloria Garcia, 65; Teresa Cruz, 64, Martha Bueno, 62; Bryan Pineda, 28; Maria Vences-Tinoco, 50; Maria Rosa Portillo, 74; Martha Siguenza, 74; and Helen Portillo, 40. Each of the defendants was charged with selling prescription medications without a license. It is alleged that the defendants sold the illegally imported drugs out of attractive brightly-colored displays all over Los Angeles. All eight face up to one year in jail and a potential fine of up to $10,000.
The investigation into the street corner medication sales turned up over 100,000 individual doses of illicit and misbranded medication. The drugs seized included injectable treatments for back pain or bone infections that prescription-only and should only be administered by a licensed medical professional. Feuer’s office also found other medications such as antibiotics, pain medication, injectable contraception, lidocaine, and other potentially dangerous compounds. None of the foreign-made pharmaceuticals they discovered have been approved for consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In the second case pursued by the LA City Attorney, authorities seized the Magic Blue Productos website and filed charges against its owners, Catalina Campos and Jose Vasquez. Campos and Vasquez are accused of selling 75,000 doses of illegal, misbranded and counterfeit pharmaceuticals including Tramadol, Amoxicillin, Cialis and Viagra.
KTLA reports that the Magic Blue Productos currently shows a shutdown and seizure notice, that will remain in place until July 2024.
The Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT) conducted the investigations. HALT is funded by the LA County Department of Health Services (LADHS) and includes professionals from the LA County Sheriff’s Department, the CA Department of Health Care Services, and LADHS. Arraignments for all eight defendants are set for September 12, 2019, in Department 48 of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Deputy City Attorney Heidi Matz of the LA City Attorney’s Consumer and Workplace Protection Unit and Sasha Lazarevich of the Intellectual Property Prosecution Section are prosecuting these cases.