Five Defendants Charged with Illegally Importing Male Enhancement Products
ATLANTA - Five defendants have been indicted on federal charges of conspiring to illegally import into the United States male enhancement products that contained the active ingredient in Viagra.
“These defendants are charged with importing mislabeled products that contained the active ingredient in Viagra which can only be obtained in the United States after being prescribed by a licensed physician,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “According to the indictment, they then distributed the products to retail outlets throughout the United States. The laws the defendants are charged with violating are intended to protect consumers from unknowingly using products that might cause serious side effects. Along with our law enforcement partners we will vigorously prosecute individuals who violate the food and drug laws in the way these defendants allegedly did.”
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the continued commitment of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations to aggressively pursue those who offer and sell unapproved and misbranded drugs,” said Special Agent in Charge David W. Bourne. “We will remain vigilant in our efforts to protect consumers from these fraudulent and potentially dangerous products.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: The defendants imported from China male enhancement products with names such as, “Maxman,” “Herb Viagra,” “Rock Hard Weekend,” “Stiff Nights,” “Happy Passengers,” “Hard Ten Days” “Zhen Gongfu,” to sell throughout the United States. These products contained the same drug that is the active ingredient in Viagra. Because the products contained a drug that is only available in the United States when prescribed by a licensed physician, if the products were properly labeled, the Food and Drug Administration and United States Customs and Border Protection would have stopped the products from entering the United States. In order to evade import restrictions on the products, the defendants directed their suppliers to mislabel the boxes containing the products to make it appear that the boxes contained items that can be legally imported into the United States, such as beauty products, pottery, coffee, and tea. By causing the shipments to be mislabeled, the defendants were able to import the products illegally.
The defendants received the illegally imported products at multiple addresses in the Atlanta area. They rented storage units at different locations where they repackaged the products for distribution to wholesale and retail locations in the Atlanta area and throughout the United States. In order to evade detection by law enforcement authorities, the defendants moved their illegal operations regularly, used aliases, false addresses, and fake business names, and misrepresented the nature of their business when renting storage units and mail boxes.
In the past three years the defendants wire transferred more than $2 million in United States currency to bank accounts in China to pay for the illegally imported merchandise.
Ismail Ali Khan, 26, of Decatur, Ga.; Arbab Salim, 27, of Stone Mountain, Ga.; Hardik Kumar Desai, 24, of Stockbridge, Ga.; and Natenael Zeyid, 34, of Clarkston, Ga., were arraigned today before Janet F. King, United States Magistrate Judge, on federal charges of conspiring to illegally import into the United States male enhancement products that contained the active ingredient in Viagra. Ahmed Ali Khan, 37, of Alabaster, Ala., was arrested in Alabama and will make his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Alabama. The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in Atlanta, Ga., on May 28, 2014.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Investigations, with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations.
Assistant United States Attorney William L. McKinnon, Jr. is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.