Counterfeit Medicine News for the Week of October 26, 2020

Follow state importation news in New Mexico.

Policy:

New Mexico’s Department of Health released a draft of its application to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on October 29, 2020. Bookmark our Drug Importation in New Mexico page to keep an eye on our ongoing analysis of the 4,000-page draft.

COVID-19 counterfeits and fraud:

Idaho’s Attorney General warned residents to watch out for charlatans selling fake coronavirus cures like colloidal silver, essential oils, supplements or immunity-boosting therapies.

Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi called for the federal government to crack down on the use of thymosin alpha-1 as a COVID-19 treatment. More than 30 doctors have marketed the drug as a coronavirus treatment even though the Food and Drug Administration  has not been approved for the treatment of any illness.

Customs and Border Protection Officers in International Falls, Minnesota discovered 440 counterfeit hand sanitizing stations in a rail container destined for Ranier, Minnesota.

Companies in Florida and California allege that Portland, Maine-based Noble Medical Supply, pocketed  hundreds of thousands of dollars in deposit payments for PPE and medical supplies it never delivered. The firm is already facing a five-count criminal indictment for securities fraud.

CBP in Minnesota seized 440 counterfeit hand-sanitizing stations in a rail container in October.

Counterfeit News:

Prosecutions:

Jeffrey Wagner of Prescott Valley, Arizona received a ten-year sentence for possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia after law enforcement discovered fentanyl pills, fentanyl powder and a pill press, among other drugs in his home.

A federal judge in Montana sentenced Ricardo Ramos Medina to eight years in prison for distributing methamphetamine, heroin and fake Oxycontin pills containing fentanyl.

A 35-year-old Esko, Minnesota resident has been charged with supplying the pills that killed another Minnesota resident in February 2020.

Two Indiana residents, one from Harrison and another from Aurora, have been charged with dealing narcotics after one of them was caught selling counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl and tramadol. Law enforcement found a commercial pill press, a homemade wooden pill mold, fentanyl, and methamphetamine in the course of the investigation.

A police dog poses with methamphetamine and thousands of fentanyl pills seized during a traffic stop in Arizona. Courtesy of Cottonwood PD

Seizures

In Beasly, Texas, the Fort Bend County Narcotics Task Force seized more than 10,000 counterfeit Xanax tablets made with fentanyl during a traffic stop on October 23.

Police in Cottonwood, Arizona reported the seizure of 30 pounds of methamphetamine and thousands of fentanyl pills during a traffic stop on October 7.

Warnings

Authorities in Virginia and Rhode Island warned residents to beware of fake pills made with fentanyl. Virginia’s Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force reported that it had seen at least 2 deaths and 15 non-fatal overdoses in the region in 2020.

Deaths

For Red Ribbon Week, Theresa Juillerat in Fort Wayne, Indiana spoke about her 23-year-old son Christopher, who died after taking a fentanyl-laced pill in May.

A 14-year-old high school student died after taking a counterfeit pill in Prescott Valley, Arizona on October 20. Local authorities report that she is the seventh teenager to die of a fentanyl overdose in the last two years.

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.