Gregory A. White, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, today announced that an information was filed charging Ryan Wheele with one count of conspiracy and one count of trafficking in counterfeit prescription drugs, namely Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra.
Wheele, age 31, resides at 1944 13th Street, Akron, Ohio.
The information notes that the United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) must approve any drugs for safety and efficacy, especially drugs which can cause serious injury or death, which are manufactured and/or being sold in the United States. Additionally, any drug which can cause serious injury or death, must be registered with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”); before any registration can occur through the DEA, a person or company must be registered by the State of Ohio.
The information also states that Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis were all required to be approved by the FDA and distributed only through pharmacies which were licensed and approved by the DEA and the State of Ohio.
The information alleges that from December 2005 through June 2006, the defendant, who was not a pharmacist and was not registered or licensed by the FDA, DEA, or the State of Ohio to sell, receive, package and distribute prescription drugs, conspired with others to defraud the United States by obstructing, impeding and impairing the function of the United States Food and Drug Administration.
The information charges that Wheele met a co-conspirator on the Internet who was acting as an internet pharmacy, and agreed to receive prescription drugs in bulk and distribute these drugs by mailing them to individuals, per instructions from this co-conspirator, for which the defendant would be paid by this co-conspirator, $15.00 per order. Over the period of this scheme, the defendant received from the co-conspirator over $12,000.00 for repackaging and shipping pills in this fashion.
The information further alleges that Wheele set up a post office box address and would receive packages which were sent by the co-conspirator. These shipments came from such countries as Pakistan, India, and Great Britain, with some of these packages being marked as containing swimming supplies, “swimming treatment” or “swimming test supplies,” when, in fact, as the defendant well knew, such packages contained large quantities of pills in bulk of counterfeit Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra tablets. In many cases these counterfeit pills were not uniformly the same.
The information further alleges that the defendant would receive an order list of names and addresses of customers, and the prescription drug and quantity these customers had ordered from what was purported to them to be an internet pharmacy. Wheele would then purchase vials and type up purported prescription labels and affix them to the vials so as to give the false impression that a pharmacy actually filled this order. According to the indictment the defendant would then spread out the bulk order of pills, sort through them, and fill these vials by hand in an unsanitary conditions such as the sink area of his basement where his pet cats live. Wheele would mail these orders out to the individuals and addresses on the order list, giving a name which was not his name and a fictitious address as the sender and sender’s address on these packages.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christian H. Stickan following investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service.
An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.