Last Thursday, a grand jury in San Francisco indicted Federal Express on charges that it has been participating in a conspiracy to distribute prescription drugs and illegal substances ordered on the internet. The indictment lists a total of 11 counts.
Among the drugs alleged to have been distributed by the mail carrier are Ambien, Valium, and Xanax, all of which were delivered to customers who received prescriptions from doctors who issued invalid prescriptions. Fed-Ex, for its part, has said that it has asked the federal government for a list of illegal online pharmacies so that it could cease processing orders for them. The government has not done so, though. Fed-Ex reportedly plans on defending itself against the charges, which it calls an “attack on [its] integrity and good name.”
The stakes in the case are nothing to sniff at: corporate defendants face up to five years of probation if convicted and $2.5 million in fines, or the possibility of penalties for profiting from the illegal activity.
The problem of illegal distribution of prescription drugs online is not that of Fed-Ex alone. Amazon is known to host sales for illegal prescription drugs, though no charges have been issued the online retailer as yet. From the sounds of it, authorities are still determining how to address the issue.
The possibility of individual buyers being prosecuted for purchase of illegal prescription drugs is unknown, though it is said to be unlikely because many consumers don’t even know when they’ve made an illegal purchase. Still, consumers need to be aware of the problem and attempt to avoid any illegal purchases.
Those who face drug charges should always work with an experienced criminal defense attorney in building a strong defense. Doing so will ensure one’s rights and interest receive the time and attention they deserve.
Source: NBC News, “FedEx Accused of Conspiracy to Distribute Prescription Drugs for Online Pharmacies,” Andrew Blankstein and Pete Williams, July 17, 2014.