Mexican Man Sentenced to Prison for Importing Counterfeit Drugs
Charleston, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Arturo Rafael Salazar Cruz, age 38, of Matamoros, Mexico, was sentenced in United States District Court in Charleston for conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 & 2320. United States District Judge P. Michael Duffy, of Charleston, sentenced Cruz to the maximum of 60 months imprisonment and 3 years supervised release.
Evidence presented in this case established that from 2011 through 2017, Cruz conspired with others in foreign countries to import counterfeit pharmaceuticals from China and India into the United States. Cruz had a Non-Immigrant Visa, and he misused his Visa to transport the counterfeit pharmaceuticals from Mexico to Texas where he shipped the drugs through the United States Postal Service. Cruz and others sold these counterfeit pharmaceuticals to persons without prescriptions in the United States. Some of the counterfeit pharmaceuticals were highly addictive controlled substances, including Xanax and OxyContin. During the investigation, agents executed a search warrant at Cruz’s office in Texas and seized 360,000 pills. The retail value of these seized pharmaceuticals exceeded $8 million.
The case was investigated by agents from the Department of Homeland Security. Assistant United States Attorney Rhett DeHart of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.