Man Arrested at LAX with Nearly 40,000 Bogus Erectile Dysfunction Pills Hidden in Golf Bag Sentenced to 2½ years in Federal Prison
LOS ANGELES – A Koreatown man was sentenced this afternoon to 30 months in federal prison for smuggling nearly 40,000 counterfeit erectile dysfunction pills that were discovered in a golf bag and other luggage when he entered the United States at Los Angeles International Airport.
Kil Jun Lee, 73, who resides in the Koreatown district of Los Angeles, was sentenced by United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson, who said the sentence, in part, was due to the threat to public health posed by the counterfeit pills.
A federal jury in May found Lee guilty of three counts of smuggling and three counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods for bringing the phony pills into the United States in February 2012. The retail value of the pills would have been well over $750,000 had they been genuine products.
The counterfeit products – purporting to be Viagra, Cialis and Levitra – were discovered by customs officials at LAX when Lee returned from a trip to China that included a stop in his native Korea. Most of the pills were hidden in a golf bag.
Analysis of the pills showed that they were inconsistent with the genuine products. While many of the pills contained the active ingredient for the brand name product, they typically contained the wrong amount (up to 150 percent of the claimed dose) or contained the active ingredient for a competitor’s product (so the purported Viagra would contain the active ingredient found in Cialis). Some of the counterfeit pills had no active ingredient at all.
When investigators searched Lee’s residence, they found a small number of counterfeit pills, as well as numerous counterfeit labels that were hidden under a rug.
“The danger of this conduct is substantial,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court. “Indeed, while the government is not aware of any inherently harmful chemicals contained in the pills, the prospect of a user ingesting pills that contain more active ingredient than is listed on the pill, or a different active ingredient than is supposed to be in that pill, raises serious medical concerns.”
The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Release No. 13-109
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