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Intellectual Property Rights
08/08/2013

11 charged in alleged illegal pharmacological import and distribution scheme

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Seven arrests have been made in a coordinated operation spanning several states, related to the unsealing of a 17-count indictment and criminal complaint involving Gallant Pharma International Inc., an allegedly unlicensed company that is accused of distributing misbranded prescription drugs from its headquarters in Crystal City and an office in Springfield. The individuals arrested were:

  • Syed "Farhan" Huda, 38, of Arlington;
  • Deeba Mallick, 36, of Arlington;
  • Anoushirvan R. Sarraf, 47, of Rockville, Md.;
  • Talib Khan, 42, of Montreal, Canada, and Barbados;
  • Harvey Whitehead, 67, of Troy, Mich.;
  • Lisa Coroniti, 46, of Devon, Pa.; and
  • Robert J. Sparks, 30, of Springfield.

Munajj Rochelle, 36, a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, is currently incarcerated in Montreal on unrelated charges. Arrest warrants have been issued for the remaining three defendants, Robert Wachna of Ottawa, Mirwaiss Aminzada, 43, of Montreal, and Patricia Durr, 70, of Boynton Beach, Fla.

The arrests were made following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPS).

The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit importation fraud, introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, unlicensed medical wholesaling, wire fraud and attempting to defraud the FDA.

According to the 17-count indictment unsealed Wednesday, Khan and Huda were principals of Gallant Pharma, which allegedly began illegally importing prescription drugs, including intravenous chemotherapy drugs and injectable cosmetics, into the United States around August 2009. Gallant Pharma represented itself as a "Canadian company" and told potential customers that it sold drugs from Canada. Khan, with the assistance of Huda, Mallick, Aminzada, and others, allegedly acquired drugs from other parts of the world, including India, Switzerland and Turkey. These drugs were allegedly not manufactured and packaged in accordance with FDA requirements and, in some cases, were not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.

Gallant Pharma imported the drugs with the assistance of co-conspirators in Canada and the United Kingdom, including Aminzada, and addressed deliveries to Sarraf, a medical doctor, at his practice in McLean in order to lessen scrutiny by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Initially, Gallant Pharma allegedly operated out of the apartment of Huda and his wife, Mallick, in Crystal City, where Huda is alleged to have served as the day-to-day head of Gallant Pharma in the United States and Mallick had primary responsibility for processing sales invoices and customer payments. Until June, Gallant Pharma allegedly stored the misbranded drugs at an office in Springfield.

Gallant Pharma was not licensed to distribute prescription drugs in the United States, yet allegedly sold drugs to doctors, hospitals and medical practices across the country, generating more than $8.6 million in revenue since August 2009.