April 29, 2024: Extradition challenges continue to hamper prosecution of dangerous pill traffickers

Major Stories

Lengthy extradition processes for men in separate cases have moved forward. One has been sentenced for illegal sales of controlled medicines. Biden signed the FEND Off Fentanyl Act.  NABP released a report about illegal sales of GLP-1 agonists.

Banmeet Singh, 40, of Haldwani, India received a five-year prison sentence and an order to forfeit $150 million for selling Xanax, tramadol and a variety of illicit drugs on dark web marketplaces. Between 2012 and 2017, Singh’s drug organization shipped drugs to all 50 states, Canada, England, Ireland, Jamaica, Scotland, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Singh was indicted in 2018, but could not be prosecuted until March 2023, when he was extradited from the U.K.

A similar delay is playing out in the case of Alexandre Beaudry, a Canadian alleged to have used the dark web to sell U.S. residents ​​more than 15 million counterfeit Xanax tablets. A federal grand jury in Connecticut indicted Beaudry for alleged distribution of alprazolam and fentanyl analogues in March 2022, but it is only now, two years later, that the Montreal Superior Court has agreed that he can be extradited.

A purported picture of Alexandre Beaudry's (AlpraKing's) lab (Reddit). Learn more about AlpraKing.

On April 24, 2024, President Biden signed the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, which further empowers the United States government to use sanctions and anti-money-laundering statutes to disrupt the fentanyl supply chain. Read the bill.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s new report, Injectable Weight Loss Drugs: How Illegal Online Drug Sellers Are Taking Advantage of Patients, asserts that illegal sellers have launched thousands of websites to sell desperate patients substandard and counterfeit versions of GLP-1 agonists like Ozempic, Wegovy and Saxenda.

Domestic News

A British man was sentenced for selling illegally imported medicines. Massachusetts men pleaded guilty to selling fake prescription pills.

A federal court sentenced 47-year-old British citizen Paul Bateman to 20 months of time served for running websites that sold Americans illegally imported tapentadol, tramadol and other controlled medicines. As with Banmeet Singh, above, Bateman’s prosecution was delayed until he could be arrested in Laos and extradited from the U.K. He pleaded guilty in November 2023, more than four years after being indicted.

Massachusetts residents Nelson Mora and Christopher Nagle pleaded guilty for their roles in a large North Shore-based drug trafficking ring that sold diverted Adderall, Xanax and Oxycodone pills as well as fake versions of the same pills they made with fentanyl or methamphetamine. They are the 10th and 11th defendants to plead guilty in this case. 

FDA warned Cardinal Health for selling “convenience kits” that contain syringes in sizes and designs that have not been approved. The agency is concerned that the unapproved syringes which are used with infusion pumps and tube feeding systems, could leak or lead to inaccurate dosing.

Pill press seized during the investigation in Massachusetts (U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts).

The Drug Enforcement Administration revealed that last September’s arrest of a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy caught with 104 pounds of fentanyl pills was the result of a multi-agency investigation into a Sinaloa drug trafficking network. That investigation, dubbed Operation “Hotline Bling” led to the seizure of 600,000 fentanyl tablets, about 415 pounds of other illicit drugs,and seven firearms.