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Intellectual Property Rights

Upstate New York man sentenced for importing counterfeit pharmaceuticals

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – An upstate New York man was sentenced Wednesday to three years probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $13,377 for importing counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets into the United States. This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to court documents, between January and June 2011, Curtis Henry, 53, 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. Henry was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa after he pleaded guilty to the charge Nov. 2, 2011.

"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 HSI Buffalo, N.Y. "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 Homeland Security Investigations in our continued efforts in combating counterfeit drugs."

As the largest investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, HSI plays a leading role in targeting criminal organizations responsible for producing, smuggling and distributing counterfeit products. HSI focuses not only on keeping counterfeit products off the streets, but also on dismantling the criminal organizations behind such illicit activity.

HSI manages the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) in Washington, D.C. The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. As a task force, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 20 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP (Intellectual Property) theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.

To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley E. Tyler prosecuted this case on behalf of the U.S. government.