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Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
08/15/2016

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Pennsylvania man convicted in Houston of distributing counterfeit Viagra and Cialis prescription drugs

HOUSTON — A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Monday to charges related to a conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit Viagra and Cialis prescription drugs, and to smuggling, trafficking and introducing the misbranded prescription drugs into interstate commerce.

This guilty plea was announced by the following agency heads:  U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas; Acting Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI); and Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Victor Lamar Coates, 47, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to conspiring with convicted co-conspirator Martez Gurley, 41, of Napa, California, to traffic in counterfeit and misbranded Viagra and Cialis, and introducing those drugs in interstate commerce. Both drugs are prescription medications. Coates admitted to illegally distributing at least 10,288 counterfeit and misbranded tablets, including tablets he illegally imported directly from China. The FDA, Eli Lilly and Pfizer Inc. conducted testing on the counterfeit tablets which revealed the tablets did not contain the ingredients listed on the labeling. Some of the Viagra tablets contained the compound 2-MBT, an ingredient not part of authentic Viagra.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner accepted the guilty plea Aug. 15 and set Coates’ sentencing for Nov. 8. Gurley was convicted in June 2015 for his role in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 22.

Each man faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy and for introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce; they also face up to three years for introducing misbranded drugs into commerce.

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

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/22/2016