July 10, 2023: Federal operation seized unapproved medicines and medical devices at international mail facilities

This week: Global coalition launched to combat synthetic drugs. One-third of packages examined in Operation Broader Sword contained unapproved medicines, medical devices, or precursor chemicals. Prosecutions in seven states involved the trafficking of fentanyl pills and related deaths.

National News

A multi-agency operation prevented counterfeit medicines, medical devices, and precursor chemicals from entering the U.S. Fentanyl pill seizures increased by 425 percent in New York City during 2022 from the previous year.

Multiple federal agencies took part in Operation Broader Sword, an enforcement operation targeting illicit pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and precursor chemicals coming into the U.S. from India in June.

Novo Nordisk sued three Florida compounding pharmacies for allegedly selling illegal versions of three of its weight loss drugs.

Family advocates in California and New York spoke about the dangers of fentanyl, sharing stories about loved ones who died after taking counterfeit pills.

The Special Narcotics Prosecutor of the City of New York released its annual report for 2022. Fentanyl pill seizures were up 425% from the previous year.

International News

Global Coalition launched to combat the threat of synthetic drugs. Mexican authorities cracked down on pharmacies selling counterfeit pills. Bromazolam eclipses etizolam in fake pills found in Scotland. Fake antibiotic found in Pakistan.

Photo from a raid of a Mexican pharmacy by COFEPRIS in June 2023. (Source: FGR)

The U.S. is part of a newly launched international coalition of over 70 countries and organizations addressing the synthetic drug threat. A seizure at Dulles Airport in Washington DC of 70 pounds of a novel synthetic called "Dimethylpentylone" is an example of the type of synthetic drug threats this coalition seeks to address.

Mexican health authority COFEPRIS raided multiple pharmacies in Los Cabos, seizing nearly 25,000 pills that the pharmacies were not authorized to sell.  

Public Health Scotland warned residents that bromazolam had overtaken etizolam as the most common ingredient found in counterfeit Valium and Xanax circulating in the country. 

The Drug Control authorities have discovered a suspected counterfeit batch of an antibiotic, Ciproxin, in Kasur, Pakistan.


News about prosecutions involving fentanyl pills in seven states.

Fentanyl pills and methamphetamine seized by the Seattle Police Department in June 2023. (Source: Seattle Police Department)

David Weaver received a 150-month federal prison sentence for distributing counterfeit prescription pills made with fentanyl. He is one of four people in a distribution chain that ended with the death of a man in Hillsboro, Oregon in 2021.

Dylan Wilson and Scott Keeling will spend 96 months in federal prison for supplying the M30 pills made with fentanyl that killed a 15-year-old in Yamhill, Oregon. The teen, Marie Prine, ordered the pills on Snapchat with a friend during a sleepover in July 2021.

Stephanie Kightlinger of Youngsville, Pennsylvania received a sentence of nine months to two years for dealing the counterfeit pills made with fentanyl that killed a man in January 2023. The transaction was arranged via Facebook Messenger

State and federal courts charged defendants in cases involving counterfeit pills that killed or harmed people in San Jose, California, Manhattan, Kansas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Blue Earth County, St. Cloud, and St. Paul, Minnesota; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Portland, Oregon and Casper, Wyoming,

People were also convicted or sentenced in cases involving counterfeit pills in Bemidji, and St. Paul, Minnesota; Rock Hill, South Carolina and the Rock Boy’s Indian Reservation in Montana.


Counterfeit Botox seized in Puerto Rico. Counterfeit pills made with fentanyl or etizolam seized in five states.

Law enforcement in Spanish Fork, Utah seized more than 110,000 fentanyl pills during a traffic stop.

Agents with Customs and Border Protection seized 149 vials of counterfeit Botox in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Counterfeit pills were also confiscated in Jacksonville, Florida, Lynwood, Washington, Marana, Arizona, Fredericksburg, Virginia, Cheyenne and Gillette, Wyoming,

Counterfeit Botox seized by CBP in San Juan, Puerto Rico in July 2023

Counterfeit bottles of Botox seized by CBP in Puerto Rico in July 2023. (Source: CBP)