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Intellectual Property Rights

Argentine national sentenced for trafficking prescription drugs from overseas

LOS ANGELES – An Argentine man has been sentenced for trafficking in prescription drugs, including Lorazepam, Diazepam, Alprazolam, Ketamine, and Sibutramine, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Felix Gabriel Alderete, 37, was sentenced Monday to one year in federal prison for his participation in a conspiracy to traffic in prescription drugs. Alderete pleaded guilty in January, admitting that in 2011 he picked up packages from mailbox facilities in the Los Angeles area that had been sent by express mail from overseas. The packages contained tens of thousands of prescription pills.

According to court documents, in October 2011, HSI special agents searched a storage unit rented by the defendant and discovered nearly 60 boxes containing more than 700,000 prescription tablets and thousands of empty pill bottles and bottles with labels. A search of an apartment Alderete shared with others uncovered nearly 1,000 tablets along with labels and pill bottles, as well as a computer containing spreadsheets documenting sales of pharmaceuticals to customers throughout the U.S. The defendant left the country shortly after the searches were conducted and was arrested when he tried to re-enter the U.S. in October 2012.

In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson observed that Alderete had participated in a "serious offense" for more than seven months that warranted prison time.

HSI received assistance with the case from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.