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Intellectual Property Rights

New York man pleads guilty to importing counterfeit pharmaceuticals

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — An upstate New York man has pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to import counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets into the United States for resale. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to court documents, between January and June 2011, Curtis Henry, 52, of Rochester, ordered more than 700 counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets from a source in China. After receiving the counterfeit pharmaceutical tablets, Henry sold them in Rochester.

"Counterfeit goods, including pharmaceuticals, create an un-level playing field for business," said U.S Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., Western District of New York. "But more importantly, they can be dangerous to the health of those who take them. Our office will continue to work closely with our federal partners to bring those who traffic in counterfeit goods to justice."

"Counterfeit drugs pose a serious threat to public health and safety, and those who engage in this illicit practice have no concern for the well-being of people's lives," said James Spero, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Buffalo. "People who purchase drugs should never have to put their lives at risk because the product is fake, unsafe or untested. Homeland Security Investigations and our law enforcement partners in New York will continue to work diligently to make sure counterfeit products stay off of our streets."

"This investigation again demonstrates the commitment of FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations to aggressively pursue those who distribute counterfeit prescription drugs and who greedily place at risk the health and safety of consumers to line their pockets" said Mark Dragonetti, special agent in charge of the FDA, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office. "I would like to commend the U.S. attorney's office and our joint law enforcement partners at the Department of Homeland Security investigations in our continued efforts in combating counterfeit drugs."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley E. Tyler is prosecuting this case on behalf of the U.S. government. Sentencing for the defendant is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2012.