Five Defendants Sentenced to Prison Terms for Multi-Million-Dollar Theft of Pre-Retail Medical Products
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and David W. Bourne, Special Agent in Charge, Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigation (FDA-OCI), Miami Field Office, announce that five Miami-area residents were recently sentenced to prison terms in connection with violations of the Safe Doses Act, which prohibits theft of “pre-retail” medical products. Ivan Manuel Valle, 34, of Miami, Daniel Martinez Zamora, 45, of Homestead, Raul Nick Garcia, 52, of Surfside, Ali Saleh, 35, of Miramar, and Jesus Mariano Gutierrez, 51, of Miami, were all sentenced to prison terms by U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard in connection with a scheme to steal more than $2.2 million worth of Mucinex cough medicine and $550,000 worth of Similac baby formula.
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, as part of an organized theft ring, 44 pallets of Similac were stolen by the conspirators from a distribution site in Forth Worth, Texas, and more than 131,000 cases of Mucinex were pilfered from a tractor-trailer truck in Mississippi. These pre-retail medical products were then transported by members of the theft ring to South Florida, stored in various locations, and offered for sale to brokers and retailers in and around Miami-Dade County. The defendants worked together to sell and distribute the stolen cargo. Valle and Zamora were brokers who obtained stolen product from others and sold portions of the stolen cargo. Garcia was a co-owner of Tadeo Supermarket in Miami where stolen cargo was sold, and he acted as a buyer and re-seller of stolen cargo using his family business, National Pallet, in Miami, where stolen product was stored. Saleh operated a beauty supply business in Broward County, where he stored stolen product and offered it for sale, and Gutierrez was a broker of the stolen cargo.
The stolen products were originally intended for sale at Wal-Mart and Walgreens stores and other retailers in the Southeastern United States.
Garcia and Zamora were each sentenced to 48 months in prison on September 22, 2014; Valle was sentenced to 60 months in prison and Gutierrez was sentenced to 30 months in prison on August 28, 2014; and, Saleh was sentenced to 34 months in prison on September 4, 2014. The defendants all previously pleaded guilty before Judge Lenard. A sixth defendant, Jorge Nimer Rolo, 47, of Miami, is currently in federal custody in Indiana and is awaiting trial on separate federal charges in the Southern District of Indiana.
The Safe Doses Act, passed by Congress in November, 2012, created a new offense, 18 U.S.C. § 670, which prohibits 1) stealing, or obtaining by fraud or deception, any pre-retail medical product; 2) knowingly and falsely making, altering, forging, or counterfeiting the labeling or documentation of a pre-retail medical product; 3) knowingly possessing or transporting a stolen or fraudulently-obtained pre-retail medical product; and, 4) buying or otherwise obtaining an expired or stolen pre-retail medical product with intent to defraud. Pre-retail medical products such as baby formula and cold medicine are covered by the Act.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and FDA-OCI, as part of the Miami Major Theft Task Force. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerrob Duffy.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.