Counterfeit Medicine News for February 23, 2021
COVID-19 counterfeits and fraud:
Homeland Security Investigations seized more than 460,000 counterfeit 3M N95 masks on their way to first responders in Puget Sound, Washington. These are in addition to the two million fake masks pulled from the shelves of 40 Washington hospitals the week of February 15.
The Food and Drug Administration warned Wisconsin-based Dr. Paul's Lab to stop falsely marketing a “COVID-Aid Tincture” as a treatment or remedy for COVID-19.
Arlington, Virginia resident Cornelius Frazier received a 12-and-one-half year federal prison sentence for his role in a ring that manufactured and sold counterfeit prescription pills that contained fentanyl and other substances. A June 2020 search of his home and vehicle yielded pill presses, 1.6 kilograms of fentanyl, and more than 5,000 fentanyl pills.
In Richmond, California, Eshai Delacruz, Dominick Wong, and Rohan Kumar received 30-month sentences in federal prison for making and selling counterfeit Xanax pills and fake Adderall made with methamphetamine.
Irfanali and Shiba Momin of Dahlonega, Georgia each received an 18-month prison sentence for naturalization fraud and the sale of counterfeit goods, including male enhancement supplements that contained the active ingredients in Viagra and Cialis. The pair continued to sell these products despite a dozen warning letters from the FDA.
Joseph Recca, a former New York Police Department officer, pleaded guilty to selling fentanyl pills to a person who fatally overdosed in Copiague, New York in September 2019.
Demetrius Brown of Douglas, Georgia pleaded guilty in federal court. Local law enforcement found that the “ecstasy” he was selling was actually methamphetamine and seized a pill press and methamphetamine in his home in 2019.
An Ohio man is the first of seven defendants who will stand trial in Nebraska’s U.S. District Court for running websites that sold U.S. residents smuggled foreign drugs. According to the Nebraska U.S. Attorney’s Office, one of the websites sold undercover agents a non-FDA approved prescription drug that contained heroin.
A Twin Lake, Wisconsin man was charged with reckless homicide for allegedly providing the counterfeit pills made with fentanyl that killed 34-year-old Anthony Winkler in June 2020.
The District Attorney in Riverside County, California charged a 21-year-old Eastvale man with second-degree murder for providing the counterfeit pills made with fentanyl that poisoned and killed 18-year-old Angel Vasquez in October 2020.
Delacruz, Wong and Kumar are not unique in selling fake Adderall made with meth. Learn more about counterfeit Adderall in the U.S.
A federal indictment alleges that OverallPharmacy.US is one of 24 site run by a ring that sold Americans illegally imported, controlled substance medications from 2014-2020. (Source: The Wayback Machine)
A 32-year-old Sacramento, California man was charged with negligent homicide for allegedly dealing the pills that killed Jamestown, North Dakota resident Dylan Warkenthien. Warkenthien died of fentanyl poisoning after taking counterfeit oxycodone on January 15, 2021.
Federal authorities charged three Whatcom County men for allegedly distributing thousands of counterfeit pills made with fentanyl in the last quarter of 2020.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia charged two men in West Park, Florida and another in Providence, Rhode Island for allegedly selling oxycodone pills made with fentanyl on the dark web in exchange for bitcoin.
Law enforcement in Cheyenne, Wyoming have arrested a man who allegedly received a large shipment of fentanyl pills and was distributing them in Laramie County.
Warnings and Deaths:
The FDA warned 10 companies based in California, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada to stop selling dietary supplements that illegally claim to cure, treat, mitigate, or prevent depression and other mental health disorders.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles Office announced that it would be focusing particularly on the problem of fentanyl and counterfeit pills. Counterfeit fentanyl pill seizures by the DEA’s Los Angeles office grew from 120,000 in 2017 to 1.2 million in 2020.
The DEA also announced an uptick in fentanyl and counterfeit pill seizures in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Over the course of 2020, they seized more lethal doses of fentanyl in Iowa than there are people in the state.
Police in Kansas City, Missouri warned about a spike in fentanyl poisonings—some fatal— in teens who had taken counterfeit prescription painkillers made with fentanyl.
The parents of 17-year-old Zachary Didier of Rocklin, California and of Santa Clara University undergraduate Charlie Ternan, both of whom died of fentanyl poisoning after mistakenly taking counterfeit pills they acquired via social media, spoke about their sons and the terrible impact of the fentanyl pill trade.
PSM is keeping a steady eye on public reports of dangerous counterfeit drugs and other medical products. Check back for next week’s summary.