Distributor of Human Growth Hormone Pleads Guilty
Chinese Distributor of Illegal Drug Offers “Insurance” Against Seizure by U.S. Customs
Baltimore, Maryland - Bradley C. Blum, age 36, of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute human growth hormone, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
“Bradley C. Blum worked for a Chinese company that is charged with distributing human growth hormone to American customers without FDA approval,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “People who buy and use drugs that are produced overseas and not approved by the FDA should be aware that there is no way of knowing what is in them.”
According to the plea agreement, during June, 2006, Bradley Blum identified himself as the North American agent for GeneScience China (“GeneScience”). According to it’s internet website, GeneScience is a manufacturer of human growth hormone located in Changchun Jilin Province in the People’s Republic of China. FDA records indicate that there is no approved drug application for any human growth hormone (HGH) drug product held by GeneScience and the FDA has not approved any manufacturer based in China for the importation into or distribution of its product in the United States. Bradley Blum is not a medical doctor, and as such is not authorized to distribute HGH in the United States.
Since 2004, GeneScience has allegedly endeavored to illegally import/smuggle into the United States large amounts of HGH. It allegedly offered its customers “insurance” against U.S. Customs seizure at the rate of $3/vial, so that if a shipment of GeneScience-produced HGH were seized by the FDA or U.S. Customs before delivery to a U.S. customer, GeneScience would allegedly reship the order at no further cost to that customer. More than 25 parcels containing HGH have been seized. Two of the HGH parcels were addressed directly to Bradley Blum and indicated that they contained “glassware samples.” Thirteen of the parcels had a U.S. contact phone number which is a cellphone subscribed to by Bradley Blum.
Based on seized records of e-mail traffic between Blum and an individual in Maryland, investigators learned that HGH customers contacted Blum via e-mail and placed orders for HGH. Blum then responded to the customer’s e-mail quoting a price, typically $2.30 - $2.50 per international unit (an international unit equals three milligrams of a pharmaceutical) and directed the customers to send the money via Western Union to certain persons in China. Once the money transfer occurred, the customer would e-mail Blum with the particulars of the transfer and the control number assigned to the transaction by Western Union. The customer would also give Blum the name and address to which the HGH should be shipped. Blum then relayed that information to GeneScience who would allegedly advise Blum of the parcel service through which the product was shipped and the tracking numbers for the parcels.
Based on the records of e-mail communications between GeneScience and Blum, it appears that since 2004 over 50 deliveries of HGH manufactured by GeneScience and facilitated by Blum were made to over 15 individuals in Maryland. The same records indicate that Blum and GeneScience engaged in over 600 transactions involving at least 100 individuals located in the United States and Canada between November, 2004 and December, 2006. As an example of the volume of business during the period September, 2004 - August, 2005, e-mail records between Blum and GeneScience indicate that over $1,500,000 was transferred to GeneScience by customers who illegally obtained HGH from GeneScience through Blum.
Blum faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis has scheduled sentencing for October 10, 2008.
A federal grand jury in Rhode Island has charged Genescience Pharmaceutical Company, the company’s CEO, Lei Jin, and three other men with participating in an international trafficking conspiracy in which millions of dollars worth of human growth hormone (HGH) was smuggled into the United States and other countries.
This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case is part of “Operation Raw Deal,” an international investigation targeting the illegal manufacturing and trafficking of anabolic steroids and its raw materials, mainly from China, along with the human growth hormone (HGH) and the insulin growth factor (IGF) markets.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Philip S. Jackson, who is prosecuting the case.