What to Know
- At least 5.5 million pills of powder Tadalafil were sold to distributors across the United States, prosecutors allege.
- Arraignments for Lee, KHK and SHH have been scheduled for Feb. 19 in downtown Los Angeles.
- Arraignments for Park, RNG Global, Burroughs and Lancaster are expected on March 18.
Three people and four companies have agreed to plead guilty in Los Angeles to federal criminal charges related to the illegal importation and sale of $11 million worth of pharmaceutical-grade erectile dysfunction drugs that were falsely marketed as herbal remedies for men, it was announced Thursday.
Jin Su Park, 40, of Hacienda Heights agreed to plead guilty in Los Angeles federal court at a future date to felony counts of importing contraband into the United States and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Park's Rowland Heights-based company, RNG Global Management and Trading Group Inc., is also expected to enter guilty pleas to federal counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
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In a separate case, Lancaster Distributors Inc., a Salem, Oregon-based company, and one of its employees, Matthew Burroughs, 42, of Salem each agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of conspiracy to introduce misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, prosecutors said.
Last month, Park's friend and former colleague, John Seil Lee, 40, of Walnut agreed to plead guilty to felony counts of conspiracy, importing contraband into the United States, filing a false tax return and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, according to court records.
Lee's companies -- KHK International Trade Enterprise Inc. and SHH World Trading Enterprises Inc. -- also agreed to plead guilty to the charges, federal prosecutors said.
From 2011 through early 2017, Lee illegally imported shipments of powder Tadalafil -- a prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction and sold under the brand name Cialis -- from suppliers in China, according to case documents.
Lee then manufactured the powder Tadalafil into at least 5.5 million pills that he sold to distributors across the United States, prosecutors allege.
In order to boost sales, Lee allegedly made the pills with up to 14 times the level of Tadalafil contained in Cialis.
The U.S. Attorney's Office contends that Lee sold at least $11 million worth of pills across the United States -- under names such as "X Again," "X Monster" and "Royal Master" -- with labels that did not disclose the presence of Tadalafil and falsely stated that no prescription was necessary.
After Lee closed SHH following the execution of federal search warrants in February 2017, his friend Park set up RNG Global to operate as a copycat business, according to Park's plea agreement.
Park allegedly took 14,000 of Lee's pills, rebranded them as "EEZZY UP PLATINUM," and sold them to Lee's former distributors across the country.
Arraignments for Lee, KHK and SHH have been scheduled for Feb. 19 in downtown Los Angeles. Arraignments for Park, RNG Global, Burroughs and Lancaster are expected on March 18.
The FDA's approval of Cialis is limited to the use under the supervision of a licensed professional.
Due to toxicity and other potentially harmful effects -- including life-threatening drops in blood pressure, loss of vision, loss of hearing and prolonged, painful erections that can result in permanent injury -- drugs similar to Cialis are not safe for use except under the supervision of a medical practitioner.