The process couldn’t be simpler or more convenient: with just a few clicks of a mouse, a customer can order prescription drugs from an online pharmacy without ever setting foot in a doctor’s office. Sometimes, no prescriptions are needed, and no questions are asked. But the package shipped to the customer’s doorstep may not meet their expectations; in fact, it could be a one-way ticket to the emergency room.
Many illegal, or “rogue,” pharmacy websites commonly sell counterfeit and/or incorrectly prepared prescription medications and controlled substances. According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), approximately 96% of online pharmacies are noncompliant with federal laws and fail to meet the NABP’s safety and practice standards.
INTERPOL has been working with the federal government to organize operations targeting these illegal pharmacies, particularly because these websites sell drugs that have not been approved by the FDA. George Karavetsos, director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, has previously stated, “Preventing illegal Internet sales of dangerous unapproved drugs is critical to protecting consumers’ health.” Back in 2017, Operation Pangea X resulted in 400 arrests, the end of 3,584 websites, and the seizure of more than $51 million worth of dangerous medicines.
There are various criminal charges associated with operating an illegal pharmacy website. For example, in January 2017, a former police officer, Juan Gallinal, was arrested for being the leader of an online pharmacy that illegally sold narcotic pills and prescription drugs. Gallinal and his coconspirators used physicians’ names and DEA numbers to illegally procure these drugs. He also charged customers nearly 10 times the actual price! Gallinal was charged with: conspiracy to distribute controlled substances by means of the Internet; conspiracy to commit money laundering; conspiracy to introduce misbranded prescription drugs; and destruction, alternation, and concealment of records. Gallinal was ultimately sentenced to 8 years in prison.
If you’ve been arrested for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, you need to hire an experienced attorney immediately. Otherwise, you could face the following penalties:
- Mandatory prison sentence
- Exorbitant fines
- Denial of federal benefits
- Forfeiture of personal property and real estate related to the crime
Arrested for a Drug Crime? Schedule a Consultation
If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller. Our firm has been able to secure countless charge reductions, acquittals, and dismissals for clients facing life-altering convictions. By thoroughly investigating your case, we can examine your defense options and develop an effective legal strategy that safeguards your freedom.