US jury indicts two Pakistanis for smuggling pharmaceuticals

Two Pakistani nationals have been indicted by a US federal grand jury on charges of illegally shipping pharmaceuticals from Pakistan and Britain to the US.

Washington: Two Pakistani nationals arrested in London last month have been indicted by a US federal grand jury on charges of illegally shipping pharmaceuticals from Pakistan and Britain to the US.

Sheikh Waseem Ul Haq, 39, and Tahir Saeed, 50, are accused of operating internet sites that, since late 2005, illegally shipped USD 2 million of pharmaceuticals from Pakistan and Britain to customers worldwide, including nearly USD 780,000 in sales to US purchasers, said the Department of Justice after a federal grand jury in District of Columbia indicted them.

If convicted, they face up to 40 years in prison. Arrested in London on October 19, they were presented to Westminster Magistrate`s Court in London and ordered held pending extradition to the United States.

"This indictment alleges an international conspiracy to sell anabolic steroids, tranquilisers, and other prescription drugs over the internet to American consumers without any doctor involved," said US Attorney Ronald C Machen.

"These Pakistani nationals are charged with shipping pharmaceuticals wrapped in trash bags into the United States in packages with phony return addresses in exchange for money wired to servants and employees in Pakistan.”

"We will seek to extradite these defendants to the United States and to hold them accountable in an American courtroom," Machen said.

According to the indictment, the defendants and others owned, operated and conducted business as Waseem Enterprises and Harry`s Enterprises, wholesale pharmaceutical companies that were located in Pakistan.

The businesses were used to unlawfully distribute a wide variety of controlled substances and prescription drugs through Internet sites.

The defendants and others also advertised their companies on internet sites to generate business, the Justice Department said.

Ul Haq and Saeed directed US customers to submit payments via Western Union to numerous individuals in Karachi in order to conceal the fact that the funds were going to them.

As alleged in the indictment, the defendants admitted in e-mails that they paid bribes to Pakistani customs officials to facilitate shipment of the drugs out of Pakistan, and warned that US customers bore the risk of interception by US customs officials.

The indictment alleges that the defendants packaged the drug shipments in ways which reduced the likelihood of interdiction by customs inspectors and told customers that, despite the packaging, some of the shipments might not get through.

The drugs shipped into the United States included methylphenidate (sold as Ritalin); various anabolic steroids; alprazolam (sold as Xanax); diazepam (sold as Valium), lorazepam (sold as Ativan), clonazepam (sold as Klonapin) and other controlled and non-controlled substances, the Justice Department said.


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