As many as seven people of Indian origin, all of them from New York, were among eight defendants arrested Sept. 12 for allegedly distributing millions of opioid pills Imported from India.
Prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York announcing the charges this week said the defendants allegedly received and repackaged misbranded drugs at a warehouse in Queens.
The opioids were mislabeled in India to hide their illegal nature and sent over here to be mailed by the defendants to customers in the U.S.
The eight people charged in the complaint unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn included Harpreet Singh, 29; Parthiban Narayanasamy, 58; Baljeet Singh, 29; Deepak Manchanda, 43; Gulab Gulab, 45; Mukul Chugh, 24; Vikas M. Verma, 45; and Ezhil Sezhian Kamaldoss, 46. All of them were charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance containing Tramadol, a synthetic opioid.
Sezhian Kamaldoss was also charged with money laundering.
“As alleged, the defendants participated in a black market for prescription medications by distributing millions of opioid pills in tens of thousands of transactions in one year alone,” United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard P. Donoghue said.
In a press release the DA’s office said law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who profit from the suffering wrought by opioid distribution in the United States.
Donoghue expressed his appreciation to the United States Attorneys’ Offices for the District of Maryland, the District of Massachusetts and the Southern District of Ohio as well as Mark McCormack, Special Agent-in-Charge, Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office for their assistance in the case.
“The illegal manufacture and distribution of opioids can result in overdoses and deaths, further fueling the national crisis,” McCormack said, adding that the FDA is committed to disrupting and dismantling illegal prescription drug distribution networks, including those that import unapproved drugs from overseas.