Partner in Mumbai-based prescription drug company pleads guilty to drug smuggling

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A partner in a Mumbai-based prescription drug company pleaded guilty October 6, 2022, in federal court in Boston to drug smuggling charges.

The charges arose from his operation of an overseas pharmacy that sold unapproved prescription drugs and controlled substances, including opioids, and shipped them from Asia into the United States, a Justice Department press release said.

Manish Kumar, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to import misbranded prescription drugs and controlled substances conspiracy to distribute Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances and one count of making false statements to federal officers.

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U.S. District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for Jan. 18, 2023. Kumar was charged by complaint and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2021.

According to the Justice Department press release, Kumar was a partner in a drug company in Mumbai that sold prescription drugs, including generic erectile dysfunction drugs, and Schedule II controlled substances, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and tapentadol, and Schedule IV controlled substances, such as tramadol, to customers in the United States who did not have prescriptions.

As part of the conspiracy, the Justice Department maintains, Kumar personally directed and managed shipments of drugs from drug suppliers in Singapore and India into Massachusetts and other states. Kumar and his co-conspirators operated their business from at least 2015 until 2019, when Kumar was arrested on unrelated charges, the press release said. After his arrest, Kumar made false statements to law enforcement, it adds.

The charges of conspiracy to import illegal drugs and the charge of false statement each provide for a sentence of up to five years of incarceration, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to distribute Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances provides for a sentence of up to 20 years of incarceration, three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million.

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