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Intellectual Property Rights
08/06/2013

2 men arrested for smuggling counterfeit Viagra from China to Houston and Chicago

HOUSTON — A federal indictment was unsealed Tuesday charging two men with conspiring to smuggle/traffic in counterfeit and misbranded prescription medicine, specifically the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.

These arrests were announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas, along with Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI), Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service, Houston Police Department, and Chicago Police Department's Intelligence Section of the Organized Crime Bureau.

The 11-count indictment, was unsealed Aug. 6 upon the arrest of Jamal Khattab, 49, of Katy, and Fayez Al-Jabri, 45, of Chicago, Ill. Khattab will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson in Houston Wednesday. Al-Jabri made his appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys in Chicago, at which time he was ordered into custody pending an identity and detention hearing Thursday morning.

The indictment charges Khattab with one count of conspiracy, one count of smuggling goods into the United States, two counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, two counts of trafficking in misbranded drugs, and two counts of trafficking in counterfeit drugs. Al-Jabri is charged with one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods, one count of trafficking in misbranded drugs and one count of trafficking in counterfeit drugs.

According to the indictment, from June 2010 through March 2012, the defendants conspired to and smuggled counterfeit Viagra from China into the U.S. The counterfeit Viagra was then allegedly shipped either to Chicago or Houston in bulk for later distribution in smaller quantities.

According to the indictment, law enforcement initially became aware of the counterfeit Viagra smuggling in July 2010. At that time, Khattab was identified as an intended recipient of a package of counterfeit Viagra shipped from China to Houston which was intercepted by law enforcement agents in San Francisco. Special agents with HSI and FDA-OCI were notified of the shipment and commenced an investigation.

The indictment further alleges that from January through September 2011, Khattab and Al-Jabri delivered about 17,000 counterfeit and misbranded Viagra tablets to an undercover agent who successfully infiltrated the counterfeit pharmaceutical trafficking organization.

Both men face up to five years in federal prison for the conspiracy, upon conviction, as well as a $250,000 fine. Trafficking in misbranding drugs and counterfeit drugs carries a possible punishment up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine; trafficking in counterfeit goods could result in a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and another possible $250,000 fine. If convicted of smuggling goods into the U.S., Khattab could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and face a possible maximum fine of $2.5 million.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kebharu Smith, Southern District of Texas, and Senior Counsel John Zacharia of the Department of Justice's Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.