April 4, 2011
FOREIGN NATIONAL CONVICTED OF TRAFFICKING FAKE DRUGS SENTENCED IN ABSENTIA
(HOUSTON) – A Chinese national, who fled the country after a jury convicted him of trafficking in counterfeit pharmaceuticals, has been sentenced in absentia, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
On March 28, 2011, En Wang, 32, the owner of Jiao Long USAO Inc. - a Houston based company, was sentenced in absentia by United States District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore to 33 months in federal prison without parole. Wang, a Chinese National, was convicted on Sept. 2, 2010, by a jury’s verdict of conspiring to traffic counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceutical drugs. Shortly after the trial, Wang, who had been free on bond, fled the country. An investigation into his disappearance by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents determined that Wang had left the U.S. on Sept. 18, 2010, and flown to Mexico. From there, he flew to China.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Gilmore proceeded with sentencing despite Wang’s absence stating Wang had waived his right to be present by intentionally fleeing the United States. In addition to the prison term, Wang was also ordered to serve three-year-term of supervised released after his prison term. The court postponed ruling on whether to order restitution to Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Viagra.
Wang was convicted after a jury trial of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit drugs and causing the introduction of counterfeit and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. The four-count indictment filed against Wang in February 2010 charged him with conspiring with others in the Peoples Republic of China to traffic in counterfeit goods and trafficking in counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceuticals. During the two-day trial, the jury heard evidence that two packages containing approximately 6500 loose Viagra tablets were seized at a mail facility in San Francisco, California in early January 2010. The loose Viagra tablets were in plastic bags and hidden inside a shoe box and a small box. The tablets did not have any prescription form inside nor any instructions for use. The labeling affixed to the packages indicated they were being sent to a Ken Wang on the 12000 block of Ashford Chase Drive in Houston.
An HSI agent testified during trial that he had been notified of the seizure by an officer with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) assigned to the San Francisco mail facility. After performing several record checks for the name Ken Wang, the agent determined that a person named En Wang with the same Ashford Chase Drive address had recently returned to the United States on an international flight that originated from China. An inspection of Wang’s luggage revealed he had a large number of Viagra tablets hidden in a calcium bottle. The agent testified he obtained a search warrant for Wang’s residence and coordinated a controlled delivery of the two packages containing the Viagra tablets on Jan. 13, 2010. After Wang signed for the packages using the name Ken Wang, agents searched the residence and found 300 additional loose Viagra tablets. A chemist employed by Pfizer Pharmacueticals Inc., the manufacturer of Viagra, testified that the Viagra tablets in the two packages as well as the tablets found inside Wang’s residence were counterfeit and contained a substance used to manufacture sheetrock. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chemist further testified that the Viagra tablets contained less than the active ingredient listed for Viagra. Viagra is a prescription drug that is approved by the FDA to erectile dysfunction
The investigation leading to case was conducted by HSI, the FDA Office of Criminal Investigation, CBP and the United States Postal Inspection Service. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Samuel Louis and Andino Reynal.
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