Allentown Man Pleads Guilty to Importing Illegal Controlled Substances from China and Fraudulently Selling them as “Dietary Supplements”

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PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Leandro Rodriguez, 45, of Allentown, PA, entered a plea of guilty before United States District Court Judge Edward G. Smith to a charge of conspiracy in connection with a fraud scheme to smuggle mislabeled drugs and sell them as dietary supplements.

The June 2019 Indictment charged Rodriguez with a multi-object conspiracy: defrauding the United States by impeding and impairing the lawful functions of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and committing two offenses against the United States: smuggling, and receiving misbranded drugs and delivering those drugs in interstate commerce with intent to defraud. The charges arose from the defendant’s participation in a conspiracy from early 2011 until March 2017, to import from China and resell to consumers, substances falsely labelled as “all natural” dietary supplements, but which the defendant knew contained the undeclared ingredient Sibutramine, a dangerous controlled substance that could not legally be sold in the United States.

“The United States sets standards for controlled substances in order to keep American consumers and patients safe,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “The defendant knowingly skirted our country’s importation laws, and sold dangerous drugs under the guise of benign supplements. This scheme put many people’s health and safety at risk.”

The case was investigated by the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and Homeland Security Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary E. Crawley.

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