March 14, 2022: Counterfeit rabies shots found in the Philippines


The Philippines' Food and Drug Administration warned about these counterfeits last year. Watch to learn more

Counterfeit versions of the anti-rabies treatment Equirab have been found circulating in the Philippines. This warning, from drugmaker BSV BioScience, follows an August 2021 warning from the country's Food and Drug Administration.

The impact of counterfeit rabies injections is devastating: without effective treatment, the disease causes fever, headache, delirium, hallucinations, spasms that prevent swallowing and—almost always—death.

In the Northeast

Middlesex County, New Jersey resident Chester Anderson pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court for selling illicit drugs, including counterfeit alprazolam (generic Xanax), to buyers in 43 states through two dark web storefronts. An April 2019 search related to the case yielded 600,000 alprazolam tablets and large quantities of other drugs, four pill presses, cryptocurrency, and firearms.

A Manhattan, New York resident was charged with dealing counterfeit pills and guns to an undercover NYPD officer. Officials say they found a dog toy stuffed with 1,000 fentanyl pills when they searched his home.

In the Midwest

A federal court in Waukegan, Illinois ordered Salud Natural Entrepreneur, Inc. to stop distributing adulterated and misbranded dietary supplements and unapproved new drugs that the company claimed would treat or prevent cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Fake Xanax pills seized during a bust of Anderson's operation in April 2019. (Image: Manhattan District Attorney)

Nebraska State Patrol troopers arrested two Los Angeles residents after finding 25,000 fentanyl pills and other drugs in their car after pulling them over for speeding.

Sheriff’s deputies in Allen County, Indiana found almost two-and-a-half pounds of fentanyl pills in a lunch bag during a traffic stop in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

25 people in the Kansas City, Missouri area were arrested for their alleged participation in a drug trafficking ring that sold fake prescription pills made with fentanyl, and other illicit drugs.

In the South

Savannah Stroud and Shiv Tailor pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl in Lexington, South Carolina between June 2018 and May 2019. Stroud was sentenced to eight years in prison. Tailor, whose charges included involuntary manslaughter for the November 2018 counterfeit pill death of 19-year-old Bradley Brunson, received a 20-year prison sentence.

In Spartanburg County, South Carolina, the sheriff’s office arrested a 25-year-old woman when she received 28-kilograms of methamphetamine. A search of her home yielded large quantities of heroin and pressed pills.

Police in Morganfield, Kentucky arrested an 18-year-old and seized 250 suspected counterfeit pills made with fentanyl.

A Stephens County, Oklahoma man was charged with first degree murder in the death of Joshua Camuel Edgar, who died in October 2021 after taking a counterfeit pill made with fentanyl.


Last week authorities issued warnings about dangerous counterfeit pills in Yolo County, California; Denver, Colorado; Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; and Washington County, Virginia. 

In the Mountain West

21-year-old Las Vegas resident Aria Styron pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for selling Adrianna Folks a fake oxycodone pill via Snapchat. Folks died of fentanyl poisoning as a result of the pill on March 4, 2021.

A 21-year-old student has been charged ​​with a count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury and five counts of distribution of fentanyl for allegedly shipping fake prescription pills from Las Vegas, Nevada to Park City, Utah. The student told an undercover agent he was selling genuine oxycodone pills from Canada, but testing showed that they were counterfeits made with fentanyl.

In an effort to warn other families, Mihaela and Tom Steyer shared the story of their only son Louis, who died of fentanyl poisoning in Las Vegas at 16 after taking a counterfeit pill on July 4, 2021.

Police officers in Idaho Falls, Idaho seized more than 1000 counterfeit pills made with fentanyl.

Christopher Huggett's co-conspirator Bruce Holder was convicted of distributing fentanyl resulting in death in April 19, 2021.

Utah Highway Patrol Troopers discovered 25 pounds of M30 pills that they suspected were counterfeits made with fentanyl during a traffic stop in Summit.

Christopher Huggett of Grand Junction, Colorado received a 14-year prison sentence for his part in a drug trafficking operation that distributed counterfeit pills made with fentanyl that killed 30-year-old Jonathan Ellington in 2017. The drug ring sold tens of thousands of counterfeit pills, including the half of a pill that killed Ashley Romero in June 2018. Its leader, Bruce Holder is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

Police in Denver, Colorado found more than 235 pounds of illicit drugs, including 1.7 pounds of fentanyl tablets while searching two homes, and arrested a 59-year-old alleged drug dealer.

Shondella Silas and Tilden Arrates of Towaoc and Tharon Grayhair of White Mesa, Utah were found dead in a hotel room in Cortez, Colorado on March 3rd. Investigators believe the deaths were caused by counterfeit pills made with fentanyl.

Border Patrol agents from the Ajo Station in Arizona seized 2,000 fentanyl pills in a traffic stop near Lukeville.

In the Pacific West

PSM covered the case of Johnny Stine's fake covid vaccines in 2021. Watch to learn more.  

Johnny Stine of Redmond, Washington was sentenced to five years of probation and to pay $246,986 in restitution for introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. Stine came to the FDA’s attention in March 2020, when he marketed his own COVID-19 vaccine on social media for between $400 and $1,000 per person. However, his chicanery had broader scope: between ​​2018 and 2020 he made more than $200,000 selling patients “vaccines” that he fraudulently claimed would cure their cancer.

Daryl Brandon Dennis of Maple Valley, Washington was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug distribution. Detectives with the King County Sheriff’s Office found illicit drugs, including fentanyl pills, and a dozen firearms in his storage space in July 2021.

A woman in Everett, Washington is facing controlled substance homicide charges for allegedly selling 48-year-old Diane Brennis the counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl that killed her in March 2019.

In Spokane, Washington, the sheriff’s office reported the arrest of a 55-year-old man who was found unresponsive in a North Spokane hotel room with 1,000 fentanyl pills and a pound and a half of other drugs.

Prinville, Oregon resident Matthew Ryan Huemann received a two-year prison sentence for selling a counterfeit Percocet containing fentanyl to a 22-year-old mother who fatally overdosed in January.

Police in Portland, Oregon announced the fentanyl poisoning deaths of two teenagers who are believed to have taken counterfeit oxycodone pills.

Kristy Lee, whose son, Jake, died from fentanyl poisoning after taking a counterfeit Percocet pill in April 2021, spoke at a town hall in Yolo County, California to warn fellow parents.