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June 28, 2017Houston, TX, United StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

Houston woman charged with smuggling into the US and selling counterfeit drugs

HOUSTON — A Houston woman appeared in federal court Wednesday charged with smuggling into the United States a counterfeit trademarked corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory) known as “Diprospan” and trafficked the misbranded and counterfeit drug through a store known as “Naturavida.”

These charges were announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, Southern District of Texas. This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Houston Police Department.

The criminal complaint alleges that Carolina Aguilar Rodriguez, 47, aka “Doctora” sold the counterfeit Diprospan to undercover federal agents on at least five occasions. According to the charges, Rodriguez was not licensed to dispense prescription medications in Texas, and Naturavida was not licensed as a Texas pharmacy. Rodriguez allegedly made a deal to sell 100 vials of Diprospan to an undercover federal agent in May and accepted a $1,200 deposit. However, the complaint alleges she subsequently pulled out of the deal following a police raid on another supplier.

The criminal complaint alleges the counterfeit drugs came from El Salvador. Diprospan is not approved for use or sale in the United States and is not manufactured in the United States.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.

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