Two Charged with Conspiring to Import Pharmaceuticals Illegally

A Nevada pharmacologist and a Wisconsin pharmacist were arraigned on September 15, 2014 on charges of conspiring to import and sell millions of counterfeit and misbranded pills to customers in the U.S, according to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).  The accused are Balbir Bhogal of Nevada and Marla Ahlgrimm of Wisconsin who were indicted in federal court in Central Islip, New York for setting up and running an illegal internet pharmacy based in Costa Rica in order to import and distribute more than 4 million pills and misbranded drugs, commit mail and wire fraud, and conduct smuggling and money laundering operations. 

The pair allegedly set up websites and call centers outside the U.S. to process orders and then arranged for unlicensed individuals in the U.S. to bottle and ship the drugs to customers in the U.S.  One of the accused, Balbir Bhogal, holds dual citizenship in the US and in India.  The drugs, which include counterfeit Viagra®, alprazolam, and phentermine, were manufactured in India and shipped without proper labeling identifying them as prescription drugs or controlled substances.  Assisting with ICE’s investigation were the FBI and the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

Suzanne DeCuir

Global Trade Expertise