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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 29, 2015

Trafficker Guilty of Distributing Dangerous Counterfeit Viagra® and Cialis®

HOUSTON – Martez Alando Gurley, 40, of Napa, California, has entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit Viagra® and Cialis® and introducing misbranded prescription drugs into interstate commerce, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, along with Special Agent in Charge Brian M. Moskowitz of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Houston and Special Agent in Charge Katherine A. Hermsen of the Food and Drug Administration - Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI), Kansas City Field Office.

Gurley admitted at his re-arraignment hearing today that he purchased 15,000 – 18,000 counterfeit Viagra® and counterfeit Cialis® tablets from an individual in China he knew as “Alice,” as well as an additional 3,600 – 4,800 tablets from another individual within the U.S. He admitted he knew the drugs were prescription medications and that he could not legally distribute them. He also said he knew the drugs were counterfeit.

“The introduction of counterfeit drugs into the market should be of concern to every consumer of these products,” said Moskowitz.  “The best defense against unknowingly buying these untested items of unknown origin is to purchase them from legitimate authorized sources."

Gurley sold the counterfeit drugs to at least 11 individuals across the country for between $40 and $50 a bottle. Testing on samples of the counterfeit Viagra® revealed the drugs contained less than the 100 mg of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), while the testing on the counterfeit Cialis® revealed small quantities of the Viagra® API and none of the Cialis® API. In addition, some of the counterfeit Viagra® tablets were found to contain the unrelated compound 2-MBT.

 “Counterfeit prescription drugs pose a risk to the public health and undermine the public’s confidence in the safety and effectiveness of prescription drugs, which the FDA oversees,” said Hermsen. “We will continue to protect the public’s health by working to remove counterfeit drugs from the marketplace and bring counterfeiters to justice.”

U.S. District Judge David Hittner accepted the plea today and has set sentencing for Sept. 22, 2015. At that time, Gurley faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

This charges are the result of a joint investigation with the FDA-OCI and HSI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger is prosecuting the case.

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Updated July 7, 2015