Monday, March 23, 2009

Fake Drugs – Where Do They Come From and Who’s Distributing Them?

Profile of a Counterfeiter – 26 Busted in Purported International Drug Ring

It seems like every week we see a news story on fake drugs being found, being seized, or worse their effects on the unsuspecting buyer. So it lends the questions – Where do they come from? Who’s distributing them?

The answer can be almost as scary as the fake drugs themselves. Counterfeiters come from a variety of backgrounds, some with pharmaceutical experience and some not --such as in our last story about the self-taught chemist, Fernando Reis, who started off counterfeiting steroids and then expanded his operation to Fake Viagra. Perhaps the most unsettling of the group are those who are professional criminals. These individuals have a variety of interests including gun trafficking, illegal drugs, counterfeit apparel and other illegal activities.

Newsday recently reported on an international Drug Ring that was also trafficking Oxycodone, anabolic steroids, untaxed cigarettes and counterfeit sneakers. The Federal authorities have charged 26 people in the case. Twenty-one have been arrested and five are still at-large. Among those being sought are two New Jersey men, Myfit Dika of Wyckoff and Kujtim Lika of Little Falls, both 44, who are believed to be major figures in the ring.

The investigation began in 2003 in the Balkans, Canada and the Netherlands and they eventually tracked the suspects to New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, the FBI said.

This particular case portrays the dangers and challenges of tackling counterfeiting. Investigations into organized crime rings take longer and global supply chains involve cooperation between governmental regulatory agencies to bring them down. The longer the investigation, the longer the public is exposed.

Most disturbing is the question of medication safety and are they getting into the legitimate supply chain? Many would say not, but they have….

...And do you really feel comfortable wondering if that same guy who is supplying the fake Nikes made overseas just may be supplying the same medicine that controls your heartbeat????

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