Counterfeit Medicine News for the Week of August 10, 2020

Coronavirus Fraud And Counterfeits:

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint against Face Mask Center, a company allegedly operated by an ISIS agent that sold face masks it falsely claimed met U.S. standards.

DOJ has also obtained a temporary restraining order against three defendants in Vietnam who allegedly operated more than 300 fraudulent websites that collected payments for products such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes that they never delivered.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Oxford Medical Instruments USA, in California to stop selling salt inhaler products to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19.

Authorities in Hawaii and Pennsylvania warned about contact tracing scams, reminding residents that legitimate contact tracers will not ask for payment, social security numbers, financial information, or personal details unrelated to COVID-19 exposure.

Other Counterfeit News:


Loganville, Georgia resident Walker Christian Forrester received a 20-year sentence in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to manufacture and sell counterfeit Xanax pills online. Forrester is the fourth defendant in the case to be sentenced.

A U.S. district judge sentenced Lacey Nichole Crawshaw of St. George, Utah to  33 months in prison for distributing counterfeit oxycodone 30 mg pills containing fentanyl.

Federal authorities in Pennsylvania charged a Lebanon man with trafficking counterfeit Viagra, Aurogra, Xanax, Levitra, Cialis, and Valium between May 2017 and April 2018.

A Tucson, Arizona-based Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent has been charged with trafficking a variety of illicit drugs, including 350,000 fentanyl pills.

PSM's News of the Week is about

The Justice Department released these photos from an initiative to dismantle terrorist financing campaigns, including one selling fake PPE. Read DOJ's news release.

Law enforcement operations:

In Arizona this week, CBP officers seized more than 62 pounds of fentanyl pills concealed in a vehicle at the Port of Nogales, and Tempe police confiscated almost 1000 counterfeit fentanyl pills during a traffic stop.

CBP agents in California seized almost two pounds of fentanyl pills in the El Centro Sector during the search of a vehicle flagged by a K-9 detection team.

In Lima, Ohio, the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force seized five pounds of suspected fentanyl and 2,500 suspected fentanyl pills, a pill press, and other drugs.

Hawkins County, Tennessee deputies arrested a Washington County couple after they seized a pill press, a container of counterfeit Xanax bars, and other drug paraphernalia they found in the couples’ vehicle.


The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warned that Minnesota agents recovered about 46,000 counterfeit pills in the first seven months of the year, nearly four times what was seized in all of 2019.

Authorities in Montezuma County, Colorado, Arlington County, Virginia, and Pettis County, Missouri warned about a spike in fentanyl poisonings that they attributed to counterfeit prescription drugs.

The Columbia River (Washington) Drug Task Force issued a similar warning after a man in the Wenatchee Valley died as a result of the pills.

Fentanyl pills concealed inside
the seats of a vehicle at the
Port of Nogales. (Source: CBP)
Counterfeit pills seized by the<br> Columbia River Drug Task Force<br> (Source: Columbia River Drug Task Force)
Counterfeit pills seized by the
Columbia River Drug Task Force
(Source: Columbia River Drug Task Force)

Even as we are dealing with the pandemic, PSM is keeping a steady eye on public reports of dangerous counterfeit drugs. Check back for next week’s summary.