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Friday, July 18, 2014

FedEx Indicted For Trafficking Prescription Drugs

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 7:12 AM

click to enlarge Pills, pills, pills - WIKIPEDIA
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  • Pills, pills, pills

Our favorite Mitch Hedberg joke has come true, but with a twist, and has become a major criminal prosecution. The FedEx guy is a drug dealer, and he knew all about it. And now the feds have indicted him for it.

A long relationship with spurious online pharmacies and their pill-crazed patrons earned the the Memphis-based shipping company 15 counts of drug trafficking from a grand jury in San Francisco on Thursday, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag announced in a news release.

Beginning in 2004, FedEx "knowingly" shipped Ambien, Phendimetrazine, Phentermine, Diazepam and other prescription drugs to customers, who would often schedule deliveries for vacant lots and swarm the truck before the driver had stopped, according to the feds.

UPS paid $40 million last year to settle similar charges from the feds. At least initially, FedEx is professing innocence by pleading ignorance, playing the privacy card. In their heyday, online "pharmacies" are, in a way, wholly reliable: almost anyone could buy all sorts of pharmaceutical drugs, without a prescription, provided they pony up enough money. (Some may still work, but nowadays pills seem to be peddled via Silk Road clones or the old-fashioned way, from willing doctors). The case is a criminal conspiracy, which means FedEx is being charged along with the spurious pill dealers, Superior Drugs and an outfit called the "Chabra-Smoley Organization," some of whom were convicted in 2012, for sending the drugs along despite being warned for nine years to stop. By busting FedEx, the Justice Department is "holding corporations that knowingly enable illegal activity responsible for their role in aiding criminal behavior," Haag said in Thursday's statement. FedEx faces up to $820 million in penalties if convicted. In its defense, FedEx says it cannot possibly be held liable for what its unscrupulous customers send via its trucks and planes, asserting that it handles "more than 10 million packages a day" and is "not law enforcement." "We have no interest in violating the privacy of our customers," the company said. "The privacy of our customers is essential to the core of our business. This privacy is now at risk, based on the charges by the Department of Justice related to the transportation of prescription medications." It's worth noting that with marijuana shipments, FedEx shipping clerks and drivers often report suspicious packages to the federal government. Not so with pills, apparently.
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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