NRI Pulse Staff Report
Atlanta, GA, April 29: Ismail Ali Khan has been sentenced to five years, seven months in federal prison after being convicted of conspiring to import illegally and distribute male enhancement pills that contained the drug found in Viagra, according to a press release issued by the US Department of Justice. Khan was also convicted and sentenced for falsely stating on his application to become a naturalized U.S. citizen that he had never committed a crime for which he had not been arrested.
This report surfaced even as the United States Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on April 26 in the Maslenjak v. United States case to determine if an “immaterial false statement or omission in an immigration document or status proceeding” can lead to criminal prosecution and revocation of citizenship.
“This defendant endangered the health of countless individuals by illegally importing and distributing drugs that can be obtained in the United States only with a prescription written by a licensed, medical professional,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn. “What’s more, this defendant became a naturalized U.S. citizen by giving a false statement to the government about his criminal history, while he was engaged in this illicit drug scheme. Khan’s willful criminal pursuit earned him more than a prison sentence. It cost him his citizenship and deportation after prison.”
“American consumers are put at serious risk when they are unknowingly exposed to undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients in products falsely labeled as natural dietary supplements,” said Justin Green, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Miami Field Office. “FDA remains committed to pursuing those who endanger the U.S. public health by distributing fraudulent and potentially dangerous products.”
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: The defendant and others imported from China male enhancement pills with names such as, “Maxman,” “Herb Viagra,” “Rock Hard Weekend,” “Stiff Nights,” “Happy Passengers,” “Hard Ten Days” “Zhen Gongfu,” and they distributed the pills throughout the United States. These pills contained the same drug that is the active ingredient in Viagra. If the pills had been properly labeled, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection would have stopped them from entering the U.S. because Viagra is available in this country only when prescribed by a licensed physician and dispensed by a pharmacist.
In order to evade import restrictions, the defendant and his co-conspirators directed their suppliers to mislabel the boxes containing the pills to make it appear that the boxes contained items that can be legally imported into the U.S., such as beauty products, pottery, coffee, and tea.
The defendant and his co-conspirators received the illegally imported pills at multiple addresses in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. They rented storage units at different locations where they repackaged the pills for distribution to wholesale and retail locations in the Atlanta area and throughout the U.S. In order to evade detection by law enforcement authorities, they moved their illegal operations regularly, used aliases, false addresses, and fake business names, and misrepresented the nature of their business when renting storage units and mailboxes.
Over the course of a conspiracy that lasted from early 2011 until May 2014, Khan and his co-conspirators illegally imported and distributed more than $1.5 million worth of illegal drugs that came from China.
On August 12, 2013, while this drug conspiracy was ongoing, Khan submitted an application to Citizenship and Immigration Services to become a naturalized United States citizen. The application included the following question: “Have you ever committed a crime for which you have not been arrested?” Khan falsely answered, “No.” On January 6, 2014, and again on March 14, 2014, Khan was interviewed by a representative of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Both times the representative asked Khan whether he had ever committed a crime for which he had not been arrested. On both occasions, Khan falsely stated that he had not. Khan became a naturalized United States citizen on March 14, 2014.
Ismail Ali Khan, 29, of Decatur, Georgia, was sentenced to five years and seven months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. At the sentencing hearing, Judge Steve C. Jones ordered that Khan’s status as a naturalized U.S. citizen be revoked and Khan’s certificate of naturalization was declared void. Judge Jones also ordered that Khan be immediately deported to India, Khan’s native country, once he completes his prison term. At that time, supervised release will not be enforced. Khan was found guilty by a jury on February 13, 2017.
This case was investigated by the Office of Criminal Investigations, Food and Drug Administration and Homeland Security Investigations.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys William L. McKinnon, Jr. and Trevor Wilmot prosecuted the case.