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Intellectual Property Rights
09/03/2010

Houston business owner convicted of trafficking counterfeit prescription drugs

Counterfeit Viagra contained substance used to manufacture sheetrock

HOUSTON - A Houston business owner was found guilty by a jury Friday on four counts of conspiring to traffic in counterfeit drugs and introducing counterfeit and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. The conviction resulted from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Office of Criminal Investigation, and the U. S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

En Wang, 32, the owner of Houston-based Jiao Long USA Inc, was charged in a four-count indictment in February of conspiring with others in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) to traffic in counterfeit goods and trafficking in counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceuticals.

During the two-day trial, the jury heard evidence that two packages containing approximately 6,500 loose Viagra tablets were seized at a mail facility in San Francisco, Calif., in early January. The loose Viagra tablets, which were hidden in plastic bags inside a shoe box and a small box, did not contain any prescription forms or any instructions for use. The labeling affixed to the packages indicated they were being sent to a Ken Wang on Ashford Chase Drive in Houston.

An ICE HSI agent testified that he was notified of the seizure by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer assigned to the San Francisco mail facility. Trial testimony revealed that a person named En Wang with the same Ashford Chase Drive address had recently returned to the United States on an international flight originating in China. An inspection of Wang's luggage revealed he had a large amount of Viagra tablets hidden in a calcium bottle.

After obtaining a search warrant for Wang's residence, ICE HSI coordinated a controlled delivery on Jan. 13 of the two packages containing the Viagra tablets. After Wang signed for the packages, ICS HIS agents searched the residence and encountered 300 additional loose Viagra tablets.

A chemist employed by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Inc., the manufacturer of Viagra, testified the Viagra tablets in the two packages and the tablets found inside Wang's residence were counterfeit and contained a substance used to manufacture sheetrock. A chemist employed by the FDA further testified that the Viagra tablets contained less than the active ingredient listed for Viagra. Viagra is a prescription drug that is approved by the FDA for erectile dysfunction.

Wang is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 18, 2011, at which time he faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samuel Louis and Andino Reynal, Southern District of Texas.