Friday, March 20, 2009

Pfizer Helps Shut Down Steroid Counterfeiters

One drug class that has been susceptible to counterfeiting has been Steroids. These drugs are often sold to weightlifters and athletes wanting to bulk up.

This month, Fernando Reis, the mastermind behind the underground lab Azorian World Order as well as a large-scale British Dragon counterfeit operation pleaded guilty to 15 counts of trafficking and importing anabolic steroids and prescription drugs into Canada.

Interestingly enough, he was also manufacturing fake Viagra, which ended up being his downfall. Last year, Pfizer hired a private investigation firm to investigate the illicit business(es) of Fernando Reis after discovering counterfeit sildenafil citrate packaged to resemble brand name Viagra. Their investigation and cooperation with the local authorities led to his arrest by Waterloo Regional Police and Kitchener Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on April 11, 2008.

The RCMP seized 600,000 capsules and 582,000 tablets of various anabolic steroids and prohormones, ancillary medications and other prescription drugs, as well as dietary supplements from a Kitchener U-Haul storage unit and his Kitchener residence. Also, unprocessed anabolic steroids and erectile-dysfunction drugs from China were seized from a private mail box at the Instant Print Copy Centre & Mail Boxes in Markham.

Federal prosecutor Catrina Braid said in an agreed statement of facts that the steroid seizure is believed to be one of the biggest ever in Canada. More than $1 million in deposits were made to various bank accounts held by Reis between 2002 and 2008.

In a plea deal, he was sentenced to 22 months in jail and 2 months probation.

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