LEXINGTON, KY - The presidents of two supermarkets in Lexington admitted they conspired to smuggle unapproved prescription drugs into their stores to sell them.
Juan Cervantes, 42, and Manuel Hernandez, 48, pleaded guilty Tuesday to money laundering and conspiracy to smuggle goods. The corporations and their stores listed as Cervantes Discoteca, Inc., dba Super Mercado Aguascalientes #2 located on New Circle Road and AG Super Mercado, dba Aguascalientes located on Alexandria Drive pleaded guilty to the same charges.
The corporations and the store presidents agreed to forfeit $650,000 combined and the corporations together will pay a total of approximately $100,000 in fines.
According to court documents, from 2006 until March 2011 the two stores made a total of approximately $377,000 in cash selling the unapproved drugs.
The drugs were smuggled into California from Mexico and shipped to a Chicago company. Two co-defendants transported the drugs from Chicago to the Super Mercado stores in Lexington. Hernandez and Cervantes wrote checks to the company for the drugs.
During a four year investigation authorities found that that the drugs were not sold by a licensed medical professional, did not contain English instructions for consumption, were never approved for importation into the U.S. and that the stores did not have a Kentucky license to sell prescription drugs.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Antoinette V. Henry, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office; Ronnie Bastin, Chief of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Division of Police; Christopher A. Henry, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division and Perrye Turner, Special Agent in Charge, of the Federal Bureau Investigation jointly announced the plea.
The investigation was conducted by Lexington Police, FDA, FBI and the IRS. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger West.
Sentencing for the defendants is scheduled for March of 2013. Cervantes and Hernandez face a maximum of 20 years in prison. The court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes before imposing a sentence.