Magazine article FDA Consumer

Express Mail Evidence

Magazine article FDA Consumer

Express Mail Evidence

Article excerpt

The Express Mail package was delivered on time, but it probably wasn't the best time for the addressee to receive it.

As investigators with the U.S. Marshal's Office, Postal Service, FDA, and state and local authorities were searching the house of the addressee, an alleged dealer of illegal steroids, on April 15, 1988, the letter carrier arrived with a package containing 450 milliliters of anabolic steroids.

That search was one of the last legs of an investigation that began in October 1987. From monitoring suspect Billy Lee Arlen's activities, FDA investigators obtained evidence indicating he had purchased steroids-many of them counterfeits manufactured in Mexico-from several different people around the country. Arlen then sold the steroids to weight lifters, body-builders and others.

The April 15 search of Arlen's house and two post office boxes uncovered I 1 2 bottles of steroids with 100 tablets each; 25 bottles with 50 tablets each; 80 vials with 50 milliliters each; 38 vials, 10 milliliters each; 10 vials, 30 milliliters each; 4 ampules filled with I milliliter each; 50 ampules, 2 milliliters each; and 50 counterfeit labels.

On Nov. 14, 1989, a federal grand jury filed an eight-count indictment against Arlen, charging him with the following:

* one count of conspiring to distribute misbranded drugs (i.e., prescription drugs without a prescription) in interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead

* two counts of violating Postal Service regulations prohibiting the use of false business names and addresses and using post office boxes to conduct illegal business

* five counts of distributing misbranded drugs in interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead. …

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