SAN FRANCISCO – Gino Carl von Eckstein was sentenced to 10 years in prison today for possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine announced United States Attorney Alex G. Tse; Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Chris Nielsen; U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations Brian J. Humphrey; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett; and Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Tara Sullivan. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Charles R. Breyer, U.S. Senior District Judge.
Eckstein, 25, of Brisbane, Calif., pleaded guilty to the charge on September 5, 2018, after federal agents executed search warrants on his car and three residences he was using. Eckstein admitted that he possessed counterfeit “Adderall” pills, or pills that appeared to be Adderall, but in fact contained methamphetamine. Eckstein admitted he stored the pills in his car, at three locations in San Francisco’s Richmond District, in Brisbane, and in San Leandro. Eckstein further admitted he possessed the equipment and ingredients necessary to manufacture counterfeit Adderall pills. In total, agents allegedly found over 1,000 grams of suspected methamphetamine.
“Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a danger to the community,” said U.S. Attorney Tse. “As this case illustrates, we are responding to the emerging threat of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in our district, particularly when the substances are laced with potentially life endangering drugs. Those individuals who put these dangerous products in our community will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Producing unregulated concoctions and marketing them as a legitimate substance is criminal and dangerous. These drugs are unsafe and their use can have devastating consequences,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Chris Nielsen. “We will continue working with our partners to hold people accountable who threaten public health and safety by distributing counterfeit pharmaceuticals.”
“This a textbook example of how multiple law-enforcement agencies work together to keep dangerous drugs off the street and bring criminals to justice,” said Brian J. Humphrey, CBP Director of Field Operations.
“This investigation and subsequent sentence is the result of the FBI and our partners’ unwavering commitment to keep our citizens safe,” said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. “Counterfeit pharmaceuticals laced with dangerous substances on our streets threaten the safety of our citizens and will not be tolerated.”
A federal grand jury filed an indictment on June 26, 2018, charging Eckstein with one count of intentionally possessing with intent to distribute 500 grams and more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(viii). He pleaded guilty to the charge.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Breyer also sentenced the defendant to a 5-year period of supervised release. Eckstein has been in continuous custody since June 15, 2018, and will begin serving his sentence immediately.
Assistant United States Attorney Sheila Armbrust in prosecuting this case. This case is the result of an investigation by the DEA, CBP, FBI, and IRS-CI, with assistance from the San Francisco Police Department. This case was investigated and prosecuted by member agencies of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.