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Dec. 19, 2011

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Pakistan National Lands in Federal Prison for Trafficking in Counterfeit Drugs

HOUSTON - Irfan Qadir, 37, a citizen of Pakistan and a resident of Houston, has been sentenced to 13 months in prison for trafficking in counterfeit prescription drugs from sources in Pakistan and London, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore handed down the prison term this morning and also ordered Qadir to pay a $140,290.70 in restitution.

Arrested in May for selling counterfeit Viagra and Cialis, Qadir pleaded guilty to conspiracy and trafficking in counterfeit pharmaceuticals on Sept. 26, 2011.

Qadir operated Awami Markez, a neighborhood market on Bissonnett Street in Southwest Houston, where he sold the drugs without a prescription. The investigation began in 2010 when agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered parcels from China containing suspected counterfeit drugs addressed to Qadir and his associates in Houston. Over the course of several months, agents observed various parcels addressed to Qadir which were delivered to his post office box or the post office boxes of others he knew. Qadir sold the “blues” (Viagra) and “yellows” (Cialis) in large quantities for $2.50 to $3.00 for each pill, or individually for $5.00 per pill.

All of the drugs involved in this investigation were tested and analyzed by Pfizer and Lilly and found to be counterfeit. These companies also verified that the almost perfect blister packaging, color and print on the packages included false trademarks and lot numbers which were never issued by these companies. Viagra, manufactured by Pfizer, and Cialis, manufactured by Eli Lilly, are two of the most widely known prescription drugs in the United States.

Originally in the U.S. on a visa, Qadir overstayed that visa and is, therefore, in the country illegally. He will be deported following completion of his prison term. after serving his sentence.

The investigation was conducted by DHS and FDA. Assistant United States Attorney Cedric L. Joubert prosecuted the case.