Counterfeit Medicine News for the Week of November 9, 2020


At the end of October, New Mexico released a draft of the state importation plan it will be sending to the U.S. Department of Health Human Services for approval on December 15th. Our two-minute summary video is on the right or watch our seven-minute video and read the accompanying blog for a deeper analysis.

Authorities in Arizona announced another in a series of tragic counterfeit pill deaths. Read our Arizona state sheet to learn more about counterfeit medicine there.  

COVID-19 counterfeits and fraud:

Europol’s  How COVID-19-related Crime Infected Europe During 2020, reflects on the long term effects of the pandemic on organized crime.

CTI League, a coalition of cybersecurity researchers, reported that almost $100 million worth of COVID-related goods have been listed for sale on the dark web, including counterfeit versions of an experimental Covid-19 drug being developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Covid-19 infected blood and sputum sold in syringes, ventilators, and fake vaccines.

Counterfeit News:

As flu season approaches FDA reminded U.S. residents to be wary of “dishonest sellers hawking fraudulent products” as cures or preventatives for influenza.


The trial of former L.A. Angels employee Eric Kay, who allegedly sold  pitcher Tyler Skaggs the pill that killed him, has been delayed from mid-December to April 2021.

Conway, South Carolina resident Amy Marie Mishoe received an 11-year sentence in federal prison for the distribution of counterfeit fentanyl pills. Mishoe sold pills that sent a man to the hospital in March 2019.

Two 18-year-olds in Prescott Valley, Arizona were arrested for allegedly providing the counterfeit fentanyl pills that killed 14-year-old Alondra Valeria Salinas, who died on October 20, 2020. Authorities are investigating whether the accused were also involved in the death of Prescott Valley resident Hannah Cupp in March.

Two men in Burke County, Georgia have been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges for operating an illegal pill factory after a May 7 search of a home yielded a pill press along with methamphetamine, heroin and other drugs.

A 20-year-old in Lake Orion, Michigan is facing charges after he provided the counterfeit fentanyl pills that killed Kyler and Caleb Kiessling (18 and 20), and an unnamed 17-year-old at a hotel in Auburn Hills on July 28.

In Coon Rapids, Minnesota, a man has been charged with third-degree murder after he allegedly sold counterfeit fentanyl pills that killed Ryan Nicholas Weber on May 22.


CBP at the Interstate 8 immigration checkpoint in Yuma, Arizona seized more than a pound of fentanyl pills during a traffic stop.

In Pensacola, Florida, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents seized almost 2,000 testosterone tablets that had been shipped from China in a package labeled “Pet Shampoo and Skin Care Set.”

The Wayne County, Kentucky Sheriff’s Office reported that they confiscated 400 counterfeit Xanax bars they suspected contained fentanyl during a traffic stop in Monticello.

Overseas, police in Adelaide, Australia discovered 320,000 steroid tablets, a commercial pill press, scales and a labeling machine during the search of a home  on November 7.


In Riverside, California, Athena Zepeda’s mother and sisters spoke about her death as a result of fentanyl poisoning caused by a counterfeit oxycodone on November 7.

PSM extends sincere condolences to Athena’s family, and to the families of Alondra Salinas, Kyler and Caleb Kiessling, and Ryan Nicholas Weber.

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.