Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Missouri man indicted for importing and selling counterfeit drugs

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - A local man was indicted on Friday on multiple charges for allegedly importing and selling counterfeit and misbranded prescription drugs, including Viagra® and Cialis®. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Mark Hughes, 47, of St. Louis, was indicted Aug. 6 by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Missouri on one count of smuggling goods into the United States, one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods, one count of selling misbranded drugs, and one count of mail fraud.

According to the indictment, in July 2006, Hughes began ordering large quantities of prescription and pharmaceutical drugs from sources in India and China without prescriptions for resale. Hughes is not licensed or authorized to sell and distribute prescription drugs and pharmaceuticals. To market and advertise some of the drugs, the indictment alleges that Hughes used business cards with a phone number listed. One card read: "Tired of kicking field goals and want to score a touchdown? GET YOURS TODAY! VIAGRA 100 mg CIALIS 20 mg $5 per pill."

If convicted, Hughes faces up to 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000 for the smuggling charge; up to 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $2 million for trafficking in counterfeit goods; up to three years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000 for selling misbranded drugs; and up to 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000 for mail fraud.

ICE was assisted in the investigation by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Food and Drug Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bodenhausen, Eastern District of Missouri, is prosecuting the case.

The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations, and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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