April 10, 2023: Canadian regulators pull a doctor’s license to protect their medical supply

This week: A Canadian doctor working in the U.S. will not be allowed to prescribe his patients Canadian drugs. Washington State legislators passed a law to regulate misuse of pill presses. Large scale fake Xanax traffickers were sentenced in Wisconsin and Virginia. India continued to crackdown on drug counterfeiters. Mexican regulators warned about fake cancer, osteoporosis and glaucoma medicines. Additional news involving counterfeit pills in 23 states and the United Kingdom. 

BC Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C.'s Minister of Health spoke about Canada's Ozempic supply: "The purpose of procuring the drug Ozempic for B.C. is not to turn around and export it to Americans." (See his full remarks at CBC)

Why did Canadian regulators suspended a doctor's license to preserve British Columba's supply of a diabetes drug? 

National news: Canadian regulators stop Ozempic exports to U.S. patients; a new pill press law for Washington state; parent advocates speak in California, Kansas and Pennsylvania

Nova Scotia, Canada’s College of Physicians and Surgeons suspended the medical license of Dr. David Davison, a Canadian doctor practicing in Odessa, Texas. Davison allegedly wrote thousands of Ozempic prescriptions for American patients to fill at pharmacies in British Columbia. Ozempic has been in shortage on both sides of the border, and regulators acted because Canadian provinces do not have enough of the drug to supply Americans. More than 15 percent of Ozempic prescriptions filled in British Columbia were sent to the U.S. in the first two months of 2023.

The Washington State legislature passed HB1209, which would make it a felony to use pill pressed or capsule machines to produce illegal drugs. The bill is intended to crack down on fentanyl pill production and trafficking in the state.

Parent advocates in Rocklin, California; Olathe, Kansas; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania spoke about the deaths of their children from counterfeit pills.

Prosecutions: A wide-scale fake Xanax operation; dark net prescription drug sales; manufacturing and trafficking of fentanyl and meth disguised as prescription pills; and counterfeit pill deaths.

Jade Deeny of La Crosse, Wisconsin received a 172-month prison sentence for possession with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm as a felon. The La Crosse Police Department launched an investigation of Deeny in June 2022 after he sold cocaine and prescription pills to an informant. With help from the FBI, they discovered that he had shipped hundreds of packages of counterfeit pills made with methamphetamine, bromazolam, and other substances to people in 46 states and Puerto Rico. The investigation yielded a pill press and other pill-making equipment, 350 pounds of cutting agents, gallons of acetone and ethyl alcohol, more than 135 pounds of counterfeit prescription pills, firearms and ammunition, and thousands of USPS shipping boxes.

John McKernan of Scottsdale, Arizona was sentenced in Virginia to 78 months in prison for distributing MDMA, counterfeit Xanax and Cialis, and fake oxycodone made of fentanyl. According to court documents, McKernan sold the drugs via encrypted messaging applications and under the name “KingofKeys” on a darknet market from August 2021 through May 2022. He falsely told customers that the oxycodone he was selling had tested negative for fentanyl.

In Wichita Falls, Texas, Lionel DeSaun Henderson received a 17-year prison sentence for supplying counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl that made their way to a 27-year-old who died after taking half of a pill in 2020.

Photograph of counterfeit pills and Priority Mail stickers from the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum, USA v Jade Deeny, March 10, 2023

Colorado resident Abel Michael Salazar was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison for supplying a drug dealer with the fentanyl pills that killed a 39-year-old man in Cheyenne, Wyoming in January 2022.

Brandon James Mann of Stewartville, Minnesota received a 48-month sentence for felony second-degree manslaughter after he supplied the counterfeit prescription opioids made with fentanyl that killed a Roseville man in December 2021.

Santos Gutierrez-Fosella of Mount Vernon, Washington was sentenced in federal court to ten years for armed drug trafficking after he was arrested in March 2022 with more than 89,000 fentanyl pills and two kilos of meth.

A federal jury found Davenport, Iowa resident Kathan Daniel Wiley guilty of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury. In October 2021 an 18-month-old was treated for fentanyl poisoning after ingesting fake Percocet pills Wiley was selling. Four other defendants pleaded guilty in this case; three await sentencing.

Edward C. Wells of Eau Claire, Wisconsin pleaded no contest to second-offense possession of fentanyl with intent to deliver in connection with selling a man the fentanyl pills that killed him in August 2022. Investigators found that the transaction had taken place on Snapchat.

Evan Asher Field and Michael Dominic Diaz of New Braunfels, Texas pleaded guilty to selling dangerous substances through the mail. Between August 2019 and June 2022 the pair illegally imported, repackaged and sold bulk quantities of prescription drugs, including synthetic opioids and benzodiazepines, on two websites, proximoresearch.com and gulfcoastchems.com.

There were additional convictions or sentencings in drug trafficking cases involving fentanyl pills in Copper Mountain, Colorado; Waterbury, Connecticut; Billings, Montana; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Woodinville and Federal Way, Washington; Casper, Wyoming and on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana.

A grand jury in Connecticut indicted 14 people charged with trafficking controlled substances, fentanyl and methamphetamine pills disguised as legitimate prescription medication, in the New Haven area. The investigation led to the seizure of four pill-press machines, thousands of fake oxycodone tablets and counterfeit Adderall pills; kilogram quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs; firearms; and more than $200,000 in cash.

Other people were charged with selling counterfeit pills that killed people in Antioch, Illinois; Holton and Douglas County, Kansas; Bloomington and Mankato, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska; Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania; and Wichita Falls, Texas.

Seizures: Fake pills seized in 12 states

Pills seized by the FBI in a Garden Grove, California home in April 2023. (Twitter)

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized 4,000 pounds of illicit drugs, including methamphetamine, bath salts and counterfeit Xanax, and drug precursors from a home in Garden Grove, California.

The Lauderdale County Drug Task Force seized roughly 64,000 fentanyl pills and four pounds of marijuana during a raid at a hotel room in Florence, Alabama.

Law enforcement seized more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine, 19,900 fentanyl pills and three firearms during a warranted search in Nampa, Idaho.

Fentanyl pill seizures also happened in San Bernardino and Tulare, California; Craig, Colorado; Dubuque, Iowa; Baxter Springs, Hutchinson and Wichita, Kansas; Worthington, Minnesota; Gastonia, North Carolina; Lawton, Oklahoma; New Braunfels, Texas; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Clarkston, Washington.

International News: Fake cancer, osteoporosis and eye treatments in Mexico; UK men sentenced for dark web Xanax sales; counterfeit drug rings busted in India and Pakistan

COFEPRIS, Mexico’s prescription drug regulator, issued warnings about counterfeit versions of the cancer drugs Optivo and Mabthera, the osteoporosis drug XGEVA, and Krytantek Ofteno and Trazidex Ofteno which treat glaucoma and eye inflammation.

Three United Kingdom men were sentenced to a cumulative 20 years in prison for selling counterfeit Xanax and other benzodiazepines on dark web marketplaces. The ring, which operated under the vendor name HulkedBenzoBoss from 2014 to 2019, made more than 22,000 transactions worth £20,863,684.

In India, Delhi Police arrested 11 people, including healthcare workers, who were allegedly involved in the sale of fake cancer treatments, corticosteroids tablets, injected antibiotics and other medicines. One medicine, which was sold to 16 cancer patients allegedly caused one patient to go blind and another to be paralyzed.

Police in Karach, Pakistan raided and sealed a factory that was allegedly producing antibiotics and other fake medicines, seizing fake drugs, raw materials and manufacturing equipment. It’s one of several raids in the last year.