Saturday, November 21, 2009

News From I.C.E.

"National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center partners take part in international week of action on illegal pharmaceuticals"
ICE, CBP, FDA, DEA and USPIS target drugs sold illegally on the Internet
"An international week of action targeting the Internet sale of counterfeit and illicit medicines and its threat to public health has resulted in many arrests and the seizure of thousands of potentially harmful medical products across five continents.

In the United States, the partners of the Virginia-based National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) conducted operations from Nov. 16-20 at mail facilities throughout the United States, targeting counterfeit, substandard or tainted drugs coming into the United States.

Federal agents and officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) targeted over 7,000 suspect packages in New York, Newark, N.J., Miami, Memphis, Tenn., Louisville, Ky., Cincinnati and San Francisco resulting in 724 packages being detained for further examination. Of those, 48 have been formally seized to date.

In addition to these examinations, the FDA issued 22 Warning Letters about illegal activity occurring on 136 independent Web sites that are now posted on the FDA Web site. To date, 90 of those Web sites or domain names have been permanently suspended.

Involving a record 24 countries and co-ordinated under the umbrella of INTERPOL and the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT), Operation Pangea II involved law enforcement agencies from the participating countries, as well as the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

During the operation, international Internet monitoring revealed 751 Web sites engaged in illegal activity, including some offering controlled or prescription-only drugs, 72 of which have now been taken down. Worldwide, more than 16,000 packages were inspected by regulators and customs, 995 packages were seized and nearly 167,000 illicit and counterfeit pills - including antibiotics, steroids, lifestyle drugs and diet pills, confiscated. A total of 22 individuals are under investigation for a range of offenses, including illegally selling and supplying unlicensed or prescription-only medicines."

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"3 arrested for role in major San Diego-area human smuggling scheme
ICE, Border Patrol probe revealed ring cut holes in border fence to smuggle illegal aliens"
"Three defendants are in custody after federal agents executed a series of search and arrest warrants Tuesday targeting a local criminal organization that allegedly smuggled thousands of illegal aliens into the United States over the past several years.

The enforcement actions are the latest developments in a year-long joint investigation by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Border Patrol assigned to the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST).

According to court documents, the investigation uncovered a cross-border smuggling organization allegedly run by a San Diego man, Maurilio Mosley. The court documents claim Mosley and his brother Erik, who resides in Tijuana, hired drivers and foot guides, then trained those guides to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States using various methods, including cutting holes in the border fence. After the aliens reached the United States, the drivers transported them to several 'drop houses' in the South Bay area. The ring allegedly paid the guides and drivers as much as $1,800 for each group of illegal aliens they smuggled into the country.

As part of Tuesday's operation, ICE and Border Patrol agents, with assistance from the San Diego Sheriff's Department and California Highway Patrol, executed search warrants at several locations allegedly used by the organization to support the smuggling scheme, including the suspected ring leader's Chula Vista apartment and a National City business. Agents seized a variety of evidence at the sites, including five vehicles, nearly $18,000, numerous alien smuggling ledgers and nine counterfeit $100 bills."

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